One of the Easiest and Healthiest Ways to Improve Your Sleep: Exercise
It is no secret that exercise is good for your overall health. It can shrink your waistline, strengthen your muscles, reduce your stress and even improve your mood, but the benefits of working out don’t stop there. If you’re struggling with occasional sleeplessness, exercising also may be able to improve the quality of sleep you achieve each night. For the one-third of the population that reports trouble sleeping, a good workout may be what is needed to stop counting sheep and start snoozing soundly.
How Exercise Promotes Improved Sleep Quality
Have you ever felt like skipping a workout because you were tired? Well, you’re not alone, but you may want to rethink ditching your next session at the gym because physical activity during the day actually makes it easier to go to sleep at night, plus it is more beneficial for your long-term health. Consistent exercise improves your sleep quality and duration. A consistent exercise routine makes it easier to fall asleep, decreases daytime sleepiness, gives you more energy and reduces your waistline.
When you regularly sleep soundly, your quality of life improves in turn. Exercise may be an important part of your personal Sleep Hygiene Cycle™ and when accompanied with other sleep-promoting habits, such as keeping your room dark and cool, can help you get the sleep you need naturally. A quick workout is a healthy alternative to prescription medication that simultaneously enhances your mood and helps reset your sleep and wake cycle.
Timing is Everything
While it is clear that daily exercise can help promote better sleep, it is important to note that when you exercise during the day impacts how well you sleep at night. Working out too close to your bedtime raises your internal body temperature and stimulates your brain, making it more difficult to fall asleep at your regular time. Additionally, according to the National Sleep Foundation, getting your sweat on early in the morning can help lower your blood pressure and maximize the quality and quantity of your deep sleep cycles. If you do plan on some daily physical activity, try to get it done at least three hours before bedtime so your sleep is less likely to be disrupted.
Top Sleep-Inducing Exercises
Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, includes activities designed to boost your heart rate. While most people associate cardio with running, there is so much else you can do to get moving, including power walking, swimming, cycling, jumping rope or climbing stairs. You should aim for at least 140 minutes of moderately-intense exercise every week to start seeing benefits to your sleep.
Sleep and strength training go hand in hand. Not only do strength-building exercises help you fall asleep, but they can help you stay asleep throughout the night. Strength training helps reduce stress, which is often the culprit for your tossing and turning, and regulates your bodily functions like metabolic rate and blood pressure, making it easier to get better quality sleep. Additionally, you’re more likely to sleep deeper after lifting weights because your body needs restorative slumber to recover, rebuild and grow muscles.
Yoga has been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years, and it is easy to see why. It offers many benefits, like increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, as well as improved energy and vitality, plus yoga is a fun, relaxing way to exercise. And one of the most overlooked advantages of yoga is that it can help improve your sleep. People who regularly practice yoga report sleeping more soundly for longer periods of time. If you want to give yoga a try for better sleep, there are a few poses that are known to promote sleep: child’s pose, supported reclining twist, corpse pose, and the lying butterfly. In addition, practicing yoga teaches you breathing techniques that are very useful for getting a good night’s sleep.
Without consistent quality sleep it is hard to function at your prime. While there are many over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription sleeping pills available to help you sleep better, they are often associated with side effects and may make you feel groggy, negatively impacting your performance the next day. A quick workout is one of the simplest and most efficient methods to improve your sleep. Next time you’re struggling to hit the hay, try fitting a workout into your daily routine and see how much your sleep quality is enhanced.
If you’re still struggling to get the sleep you need, a clinically-tested, high-quality melatonin OTC supplement like REMfresh can help provide up to 7 hours of sleep support by continually-releasing ultra-pure melatonin.