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7 Healthcast

Exercise improves sleep

UNDATED (WHDH) -- You may need to hit the gym before you hit the sheets.

That's because a new poll shows those who exercise the most - get the best sleep.

It turns out, the more you exercise, the better your sleep is likely to be.

The poll of a thousand adults found regular exercisers slept better and felt more refreshed in the morning than people who did not exercise.

The reason for the link between physical activity and a good night's sleep is not clear.

But depression and anxiety tend to be common in people who suffer from insomnia.

"We know that exercise can improve depression. We know that exercise can improve anxiety," said Dr. Harneet Walia of the Cleveland Clinic.

Vigorous exercise - any time of day - seemed to help most.

But it doesn't take heavy lifting to benefit.

"When you can, get up and take a walk, stretch some, it doesn't even have to be vigorous exercise. Even light exercise can help improve the likelihood that you'll get a good night's sleep," said Dr. Russell Rosenberg, Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation.

Taking a walk, splashing around, hula hooping - anything that gets your body moving, can help keep you still at night.

Spending less time sitting may also help. Those who sat less than 8 hours a day also had better sleep quality.