Does Resistance or Aerobic Training Yield Better Sleep?
What Kind of Training Yields More Sleep Benefits?
While we’ve spoken at length about the benefits of clinically proven blue light glasses and their impact on sleep, living a healthy lifestyle in addition to wearing the glasses can be a great combination. That said, pertaining to sleep, it’s interesting to explore whether resistance or aerobic training yields more benefits in this area. To help answer this question, we’ll be referring to an article by Mallory Arnold of Oxygen Magazine called “Exercise for Better Sleep: Resistance Training vs. Aerobic Training.” The article is geared toward women’s training, but it’s difficult to see why the news wouldn’t also apply to men, just at different levels of resistance, cardio, etc.
Regarding the study, study author Angelique Brellenthin, Ph.D.., assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University said the following, “Aerobic activity is often recommended to improve sleep, yet very little is known about the effects of resistance exercise versus aerobic exercise on sleep.” She also said, “Our study is one of the largest and longest exercise trials in a general adult population to directly compare the effects of different types of exercise on multiple sleep parameters.”
In terms of study details, Arnold shared 386 adults considered overweight were divided into four groups that ranged from an inactive group, an aerobic training group, a resistance training group, and a combination group. Regarding the specific exercises, Arnold stated that the aerobic group participated on a treadmill, upright or recumbent bikes, or the elliptical machine. She also shared that the resistance group utilized 12 resistance machines including the leg press, chest press, lat pulldown, and more. Lastly, she shared that the combination group participated in 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic workouts followed by 2 sets of 8-16 reps of resistance movements.
According to the article, results showed that resistance training participants started sleeping an average of 40 minutes more. It is stated that there was a 23-minute increase for the aerobic group and a 17-minute increase for the combination group. Sleep efficiency is also stated to have increased for only the resistance and combined training groups. That said, there may be a better recommendation now for sleep now the resistance training has been further studied. Arnold notes that researchers conclude that the benefits of resistance training can serve as both a cardiovascular and sleep-improving combination.
In her own comments on the results, Brellenthin shared, “While both aerobic and resistance exercise are important for overall health, our results suggest that resistance exercises may be superior when it comes to getting better ZZZs at night” and “Resistance exercise significantly improved sleep duration and sleep efficiency, which are critical indicators of sleep quality that reflects how well a person falls asleep and stays asleep throughout the night.
Photo by Jan Gunnar Nygård on Unsplash