Physical Activity May Improve Teen Sleep Habits

Know any teens looking to improve their quality of sleep? There may be a very simple solution.


Practically every week there's new research about the repercussions of teens not getting enough sleep. Whether performing worse in school or increasing the risk of heart disease, a lack of snoozing definitely has its downsides. Luckily, a new study took a look at what can improve a person's quality of sleep. The solution is actually pretty simple: exercise.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that physical activities—such as aerobics, yoga, weight-lifting, or running—are associated with better sleep. Even walking improves an individual's sleep quality.

Interestingly enough, they found that household work (like chores) as a person's main form of physical activity was associated with poorer sleep habits. Here's what the lead researcher, Michael Grandner, PhD, writes in the UPenn press release:

Although previous research has shown that lack of exercise is associated with poor sleep, the results of this study were surprising. Not only does this study show that 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 and yoga, and even gardening and golf.

If you know any teens who have trouble actually falling asleep, encourage them to put down their phones (screen time = less sleep time) and try a brief workout! Whether our "Get Fit In 5!" workout that they can do right in the living room or any other activity they enjoy, it's totally worth it. And if they make excuses? Well, our "The Dog Ate My Gym Shoes" story may provide some much-needed motivation!

For more about teens and sleep, check out our stories "The Teen Who Woke Up Her School" and "5 Tips For Teens To Get Better Sleep Tonight."