So, for example, playing golf or gardening could help you sleep better.
Exercise has been recommended in the past as an aid to sleeping but new research has found that some activities are more beneficial than others. For example although doing housework increases your physical activity levels it is disruptive to sleeping patterns just like childcare!
The study of over 400,000 people, by the University of Pennsylvania, asked them what activities they had been doing over the previous month and how much sleep they had had every day.
People who walked, did aerobics, cycled, gardened, played golf, ran, or did Pilates, tended to get more sleep than people who were less active.
“Those who get exercise simply by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits but these effects are even stronger for more purposeful activities such as running, yoga, gardening and golf” said the research team.
On the other hand people whose activity related to housework and childcare were more likely to experience insufficient sleep as home and work demands are some of the main reasons for poor sleep patterns.
What the research doesn’t prove is that the purposeful activities were actually the cause of better sleep. It could be that people who take part in these activities are healthier and more relaxed anyway i.e. the results show correlation but not causation.
However the researchers say “These results are consistent with the growing scientific literature on the role of sleep in human performance. Lab studies show that lack of sleep is associated with poor physical and mental performance and this study shows us that this is consistent with real-world data as well“.