Having trouble getting to or staying asleep? Before you get prescription meds to help you sleep at night, consider that you may simply need to get moving. Exercise is an imperative part of your entire physical fitness outlook, but it’s also important for your mental and emotional health too. Exercising moderately for 150 minutes every week will improve your sleep.
Exercise helps improve sleep because:
- You’ll expose yourself to more daylight – Getting exercise in the morning sun will help set your internal clock. This is your circadian rhythm. If yours is working right, the added sunshine in the morning before noon will wake up your mind while taking a slow walk after dinner as it starts to get dark will help you fall asleep.
- You’ll reduce feelings of stress and anxiety – Any time you feel that tickle in your tummy or tightness in your throat caused by stress and anxiety, it could be a sign that you need to move. Moving works to reduce your anxiety because it lowers the anxiety-producing hormones released in your bloodstream during the feelings.
- You’ll get tired – If you start exercising every day, you’ll be burning more calories and more energy which will reduce the amount of energy you have by the time you go to bed at night – as it should be. It’s normal to be tired at night. Don’t do things to stay awake longer at night.
Types of exercise that might help improve your sleep:
- Aerobics in the morning – Remember that you want to do the faster and harder exercises in the morning if possible. Running, fast walking, and other aerobic workouts will wake you up because they deliver more oxygen to your brain and raise your body temperature.
- Outside morning exercising – If you can get out in the sunshine before noon each day for at least 20 minutes of sunshine, you’ll help your circadian rhythm work properly, so your body knows it’s time to wake or sleep.
- Pilates or stretching at night – If you want to move at night, consider doing slow exercises like stretching. Anything that you do that is calming is going to help induce sleep later. Just don’t get your heart rate up or start sweating.
- After dinner stroll – Poor digestion can lead to poor quality sleep. Take an after-dinner stroll to help your digestion along. After dinner, this slow walk doesn’t need to be challenging and should not cause undue excitement to your system.
The trick is that you shouldn’t do any aerobic exercises in the evening. Instead, suppose you want to exercise in the evening. In that case, it’s important to do slow stretching and relaxing movements instead of high-volume movements because sleeping requires your body temperature to be lower than when you’re awake, and intense exercise does the opposite.
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