If you complain about having trouble sleeping, one of the first things most people will tell you is to get more exercise. The more we ramp up our fitness routine, the more our bodies will tire, and we’ll sleep more soundly, right? Not necessarily. The thing that may eliminate the hour you spend staring at the ceiling every night may just be thinking that you get enough exercise.
In a study by the American College of Sports Medicine in Switzerland, 862 college students were asked to record how much they exercise, how physically fit they think they are, and how well they sleep. There was no correlation between a large amount of exercise and a good night’s sleep, but there was a correlation between how fit students perceive themselves to be and a good night’s sleep. Students who believe they’re fairly physically fit slept well, while those who don’t think they’re physically fit slept poorly – even if they actually exercise more than those who think they’re in shape.
So to get a good night’s sleep, just stare at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re super-fit. It can’t hurt your self image, and it just might send you off to slumber.