In addition to eating regularly, maintaining good hygiene, and taking good care of yourself, exercise and sleep are the pieces that complete the puzzle of healthy living. When you exercise regularly, you will feel good during the day and sleep better. Did you know that exercise can solve sleep problems such as insomnia? Well, if you didn’t, you’ll learn it now.
How does exercise affect sleep?
Exercise aids sleep in a lot of ways and here are some of its perks.
• Improves the quality of sleep
If you want to get deeper and more restful sleep, engage in physical activities before going to bed. The effect of the activity on your body during sleep is that you will spend more time in the deep sleep phase which is the phase where the bulk of physical restoration takes place. Getting enough deep sleep helps improve your cardiac health, boosts your immunity, and keeps your anxiety and stress levels low.
• Increases the quantity of sleep
Imagine getting quality sleep as discussed above in the right and high proportions. Your body will thank you for it. Exercising your body will make you fall into deep sleep for as long as your body can take it. The tiredness that you feel after physical activity makes your body want to get rest. If you make it a regular thing, your body will constantly get quality sleep in a healthy quantity.
• Helps reduce stress and anxiety
Regular exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress. A lot of people suffering from sleep problems are stressed, and this is why they find it difficult to sleep restfully. A few minutes of exercise will trigger anti-anxiety responses in your body and improve your mood. Mind-body exercises like yoga reduce your blood pressure and cortisol levels.
• Naturally treats insomnia
Rather than load yourself with sleeping pills, exercise may be all you need to sleep every night. Even though the effects are not immediate, aerobic exercise can help reduce symptoms of insomnia, snoring and sleep disorders.
• Discourages sleepiness during the day
Daytime sleepiness is caused by factors such as the inability to sleep at night, depression, diabetes, and obesity. Engaging in physical activities helps mitigate these factors. Exercise does not give room for any of these conditions to thrive, and its aftereffects make you sleep easily.
How much exercise is too much?
The answer to this question does not exist as it depends solely on you. Most health institutes recommend 150 minutes of exercise every week – 30 minutes a day for five days. Exercise moderately, because too much exercise can negatively affect your sleep. Surprising, right? Yes! Overtraining can make you experience difficulty sleeping, so never go overboard.
What are the best exercises for sleep?
There are no specific exercises to make you fall asleep, but generally, as medically proven, exercise promotes good sleep. And these activities are scientifically proven to put your body through the necessary actions that will prepare it for sleep.
• Cardio or aerobic exercise
These are activities that make your heart rate go up and pump blood faster. They include brisk walking, running, swimming, and cycling. As few as ten minutes of any of these exercises should put you in the right condition to sleep soundly. Get the minimum of 150 minutes of any of these exercises per week.
• Strength training
Engaging in exercises that build up your muscles improves the quality of sleep. After each training session, it will be much easier to fall asleep and remain asleep until it is time to wake up. Some of these exercises include bicep curls, squats, shoulder presses, calf raises, triceps drills, pushups, and situps.
Yoga involves combining physical and mental exercises. It contains lots of relaxing stretches and poses as well as breathing exercises. Yoga is an effective stress reliever, and if you have insomnia, yoga might be what you need.
Take note of your bedtime when exercising
The timing of your exercise is important as you should not exercise close to going to bed. If you work out too late, you might end up feeling energized thereby making transition to sleep difficult. This is because exercising increases the body temperature, which can interfere with falling asleep.
The relationship between the body temperature and falling asleep is that low temperature contributes to drowsiness. The body temperature drops on its own as the body prepares for sleep. If you start exercising at that time, it will reverse the natural action and leave you unable to sleep. If you must engage in anything, it should be the gentlest exercises such as an after-dinner stroll, gentle yoga, and light stretching, all of which you must do within three or four hours before sleep.