Not sleeping well? Exercise more!

People who exercise for at least 150 minutes a week are almost twice as likely to sleep better and feel more alert during the day.

A study into sleep quality* has found that people who exercise for at least 150 minutes a week are almost twice as likely to sleep better and feel more alert during the day than those who are less physically active.

If you're a frontline Officer on patrol, this target is easily achievable but if your role is office-based, you should find ways to build regular exercise into your day. 

Getting more exercise means you'll be less likely to suffer sleep problems. More than two-thirds of regular exercisers said they rarely had symptoms commonly associated with insomnia, like waking up too early, suffering leg cramps or not being able to get back to sleep. The researchers also found that exercisers found it easier to concentrate when tired.  

In contrast, half of non-exercisers say they woke up during the night and nearly one in four had difficulty falling asleep every night or almost every night.

If you often feel overtired or find it hard to concentrate, it may seem counter-intuitive to spend even more of your energy by going for a walk or run, but physical exertion will actually make you feel more awake.

So, if you're inactive and having trouble sleeping, crashing out on the sofa might feel like your best option but you could be making the problem worse. Try going for a brisk walk instead - it could improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep.

Our Wellbeing Zone

For more health and wellbeing tips and advice, visit our Wellbeing Zone, provided by the Police Mutual Foundation. The free online tool is designed to help members of the Police Service, their friends and family achieve a healthy, stress-free and balanced lifestyle.

Log on and create an account by clicking 'Sign Up' and using the following organisation code: PMF1.

*University of Oregon, 2011