Pickleball isn’t just fun, it can help you sleep better


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If you haven’t played pickleball, the odds are high that you’ll get the chance to soon. This fun, friendly game between groups of two or four is officially the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. 

We know regular exercise benefits sleep, but does that mean playing pickleball can help you catch more or better shuteye? 

To find out, we talked to Rachel MacPherson, a certified personal trainer and pain-free performance specialist. Below, we dive into the basics of pickleball, its sleep and health benefits, and how to play for better sleep. 

What is pickleball? 

The folks at USA Pickleball describe the sport as “fun, social, and friendly.” Games look like a mashup between tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Though pickleball courts exist, you can play the game on a badminton court or modified tennis court.

Players face off on opposite sides of a netted court. They use paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball once it’s served and allowed to bounce at least once on each side. 

Typically, the player or team to reach 11 points first wins. Teams get a point when the other side messes up by missing the ball or knocking it out of bounds.

Benefits of pickleball for sleep and health 

Playing pickleball is fun, but it’s also great for sleep and overall health. If you keep it up, your body and mind will reap the benefits of regular exercise.

“Noticeable health benefits of starting a regular fitness routine like pickleball include better sleep, better mood, and reduced stress levels,” MacPherson says. 

She says the sport can also improve heart health, which will help everyday tasks feel easier. If you start playing pickleball after a season of no physical activity, you might also notice the sport improves arm strength.

Researchers have pinpointed a clear relationship between sleep and exercise. In a 2017 review of 34 studies, 29 found that exercising can improve sleep quality and duration. 

MacPherson says regular physical activity helps you sleep better because it improves energy balance, helps you de-stress, and even increases a body’s feel-good hormones. 

In other words, you’ll feel happier and more relaxed after playing pickleball or participating in another physical activity. When you’re more relaxed and less stressed, you tend to fall and stay asleep more easily.

Even better: The relationship between sleep and exercise goes both ways. “Exercise helps you sleep better, and better sleep improves your exercise performance,” MacPherson says. 

How to play pickleball to improve your sleep 

MacPherson says there’s conflicting research on whether evening exercise is good or bad for sleep. She suggests paying close attention to how you feel after you play pickleball. If you notice trouble sleeping after an evening match, try to schedule your next game earlier in the day.

If you’re interested in making pickleball part of a weekly fitness routine, here are some tips for making the activity benefit your sleep too:

  • Stretch before playing. Warming up muscles can help prevent injuries that could interfere with sleep.
  • Stretch after playing. “If you play pickleball in the evening, ensure you calm your body and mind with some gentle, relaxing stretches afterward,” MacPherson says. That this will help put your central nervous system into a relaxed state. 
  • Stay hydrated. Pickleball can be sweaty! Research suggests that inadequate hydration can shorten sleep at night, so drink water after playing.


Is pickleball a good workout?

Yes! “Pickleball is a good workout that can work most of your body, including your heart,” MacPherson says.

What muscles does pickleball work?

Pickleball works almost the entire body, MacPherson says. Changing directions and running to hit the ball will work your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, calves, abdominals, back muscles, and shoulders. “To a lesser extent, it will work your triceps and biceps too,” she adds.

Why is pickleball good for your health? 

Pickleball is good for your health because it is a full-body physical activity. Playing pickleball will help work your heart, lungs, and muscles.

What are some of the health benefits of pickleball?

Pickleball benefits your health in the same way that other fitness routines do. Playing pickleball regularly could improve your sleep, mood, stress levels, and cardiovascular health. 

Yoga is another workout that could potentially improve your shuteye. Learn about the sleep and health benefits of yoga

This article originally appeared on Saatva and was syndicated by MediaFeed

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5 common (& harmful) sleep myths debunked

Where’d you get your information? If you haven’t looked into it, chances are good that much of what you think you know about sleep is based on old myths and not facts.

For a 2019 study published in the journal Sleep Health, researchers at New York University’s Langone Health School of Medicine examined 8,000 websites with sleep-related information to find out what Americans think they know about healthy sleep.


The researchers identified 20 sleep myths, ranging from the statement that “during sleep the brain is not active” to “sleeping in during the weekends is a good way to ensure you get adequate sleep.”

After running their findings by a team of sleep medicine experts, the researchers determined that many of us operate with wrong, unhealthy assumptions about sleep.

Here, we’re breaking down some of the biggest sleep myths from the study and explaining how they affect your health.

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The researchers say this sleep myth is the most likely to harm someone’s long-term health. “We have extensive evidence to show that sleeping five hours a night or less, consistently, increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences, including cardiovascular disease and early mortality,” Rebecca Robbins, PhD, lead study investigator, tells CNN.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society both recommend adults get seven or more hours of sleep per night regularly to promote optimal health.

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The researchers point out that this is usually a sign of sleep deprivation, which can lead to a host of issues including trouble concentrating, irritability, increased risk of diabetes, and a higher risk of car accidents due to drowsy driving.

They also note that sleep deprivation could be due to sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles in your throat relax, blocking the airway and causing a momentary cessation of breathing. You then wake up, gasp for air, and go back to sleep.

The sleep apnea process can repeat hundreds of times a night, preventing your body from entering deep sleep and depriving it of much-needed oxygen. This can result in high blood pressure, leading to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.


While snoring by itself isn’t dangerous, it can be a sign of sleep apnea, a more serious sleep condition. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea—a serious sleep disorder that should be checked out by a health professional.

“Sleep apnea is extremely exhausting,” Robbins tells CNN. “These patients sleep and then they wake up over and over; then they are fighting sleep all day long because they’re so exhausted.” Robbins also notes that sleep apnea is under-diagnosed. “We believe it affects about 30% of the population, and around 10% are diagnosed,” she says.

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It’s well-established that although a cocktail may knock you out, alcohol also disrupts sleep by preventing you from achieving the important deep, restful phase of sleep. “It continues to pull you out of rapid eye movement and the deeper stages of sleep, causing you to wake up not feeling restored,” Robbins tells CNN.

Plus, if you already have a sleep problem, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or a parasomnia (such as sleepwalking or sleep talking), alcohol can heighten those disorders and make getting a good night’s sleep even more difficult.

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Not so. We sleep better in cooler temperatures. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation states that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Studies show people with insomnia have a warmer core body temperature immediately before initiating sleep—and the brain responds well to cooler temps, making sleep easier for those who tend to have difficulty.

A new bed can help improve your sleep—but it turns out plenty of mattress myths exist too. Here are the most common mattress myths and why you shouldn’t fall for them.

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This article originally appeared on Saatva.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


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