Employees may prepare to face a stressful or an important day at work by avoiding strenuous activities, getting a good night’s rest, and eating a healthy breakfast. Engaging in a wide array of physical activities such as jogging, swimming, or biking, in combination with plenty of sleep, is found to result in lower emotional exhaustion in the workplace, according to a recent study.

Publishing in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, researchers from the University of Konstanz in Germany sought to examine the impact of exercise and sleep on personal resources, or coping abilities in employees’ daily lives. In the study, more than half of the 144 workers — the vast majority of whom worked in the private sector, while a small proportion were civil servants or freelancers — worked for 38 paid hours per week and exercised at least once per week prior to the study.

The participants were asked to complete a daily record over five consecutive working days (total of 443 days), Monday to Friday. The employees had to record — both after work and at bedtime — the exercise they had done and how long they had slept for. The researchers also asked questions designed to measure the employees’ coping strategies by measuring resilience (feeling able to handle many things at a time), “pathway thinking” (feeling able to solve problems even when others are discouraged), and optimism (expecting more good things than bad things to happen), the Daily Mail reports.

On average, the participants were found to exercise 24 minutes per day and sleep for six hours and 40 minutes per night. Exercising was linked to an increase in better coping abilities the following day if the participants had slept for longer than they did on average, but not if they had slept for less than average. Employees who had better coping abilities in the day were less likely to complain of emotional exhaustion or burnout after work. Sleeping longer following exercise was linked to participants experiencing the most benefits of sleep, but the optimal duration between the participants varied.

“'The results of our study suggest that employees should exercise and sleep more than usual when facing a stressful day at work,” said lead author of the study Dr. Inga Nagel, of the University of Konstanz.

The findings of this study reveal that the combination of exercise and sleep positively influences an individual’s coping abilities in his or her daily life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that adults should engage in at least two hours and 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level or one hour and 15 minutes of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level each week. Being physically active five or more hours each week can provide even more health benefits.

To learn workout routines to do at home, click here.