Health / Sleep

What Type of Exercise Should You Do for the Best Sleep?

Does working out really help you sleep better?

In partnership with Casper

By now we know that exercise and sleep are a match made in heaven. Studies show that making time to work out may be the key to a better night’s sleep–and it doesn’t really matter what time of day you work out, either. But, does the actual exercise you perform matter? There’s evidence that vigorous exercise may be best for improving sleep and mood, but that could include cardio, strength training, and even yoga. So, what type of workout promotes the deepest, most restorative sleep? Let’s explore the best exercise for sleep. (Then, test what you learn on a new mattress because we scored you a Casper promo code.)

Aaptiv has stretches, yoga workouts, and meditations that are a perfect way to unwind and cool down before bed.


Without a doubt, aerobic exercise significantly improves sleep. That includes everything from running on the treadmill to pedaling on the elliptical to simply walking. Like we said before, vigorous activity is hugely beneficial for sleep, but don’t count out moderate physical activity. One study showed that overtime, moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as walking, increased sleep duration and decreased the time it took to fall asleep. This could be because your body temperature increases during cardiovascular exercise. When you’re cooling down, your temperature dips again and that may promote deeper sleep.

Strength Training

We love strength training for its many benefits. These include stronger muscles, sculpted limbs, and better bone health. But, we didn’t see it coming as solution a great exercise for sleep. Turns out all those bicep curls and burpees could help you fall asleep faster and actually stay asleep, too.

In a study from the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, college students performed strength-based workouts (including exercises, such as leg presses, crunches, and curls) at moderate intensity at various times of day. The students also wore sleep trackers to bed. Researchers found that lifting weights in the morning helped subjects fall asleep about 45 minutes faster. Lifting weights in the evening improved the actual quality of sleep.

This may be because resistance training acts warms the body internally, sort of like a pre-bed bath. Strength training: surprisingly soothing.


Your first instinct may be to assume yoga in all its relaxing, tension-releasing glory is, of course, great for sleep. But, studies that suggest intense cardio workouts are more valuable for sleep may throw that thinking off. Good news, though: your instincts are correct. An analysis of data on sleep and activity from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey showed that, while aerobic activities were more likely to be associated with healthy sleep, yoga also proved beneficial. In fact, positive effects on sleep are even stronger for purposeful activities, such as yoga and running.

Aaptiv has both. Check out our yoga and running categories here.

Yoga may also help impact sleep disorders and improve insomnia. In a study on yoga and sleep, participants performed a 45-minute yoga workout that included breathwork and meditation. The results showed significant improvement in sleep quality, duration, and time it took to fall asleep. And still, another study showed that Bikram yoga, specifically, may help you stay asleep throughout the night.

The physical stress relief that comes with stretching and twisting muscles combined with an increased focus on breathing makes yoga the perfect pre-sleep workout.

No matter what type of exercise for sleep you choose, you’re bound to sleep restfully on a Casper mattress. Casper knows that our days are defined by how we spend our nights. Casper’s award-winning mattress is obsessively engineered for outrageous comfort. Plus, it ships for free, straight to your door in a “how did they do that?” sized box. Enjoy $50 off your Casper mattress with code AAPTIV.

Not an Aaptiv member yet? Sign up with code CASPER30 to start your free 30-day trial today.

Fitness Sleep


Welcome to the guidebook to your healthiest life. Aaptiv delivers the highest quality fitness and health information from personal trainers and industry experts. Subscribe now for a weekly dose of inspiration and education.

I would like to receive weekly fitness articles and inspiration from Aaptiv Magazine.

Please click the checkbox to subscribe.