Will You Sleep Better If You Exercise?
Each time the word exercise is mentioned, most people think of losing weight or building muscles as the only benefits of exercise. Well, that is true but regular exercise has also been proven to have a contributory link to achieving quicker and longer sleep.
An exercise can simply be defined as a physical activity that is intended to improve the strength of the body, achieve and keep fit and boost the body’s health. This definition brings out vital aspects and is responsible for the different types of workouts recommended by specialists today.
The main health issues that exercise generally helps with are:
• Control weight
• Combat health conditions and diseases
• Improve a person’s mood
• Boost energy
• Improve sleep
According to research carried out by the Stanford University School Of Medicine researchers on effective sleep patterns of people aged between 55-75 who were initially physically inactive and suffered from insomnia, they attained sleep 50% faster and could sleep for an hour longer after moderate exercises for about 20-30 minutes daily in the afternoon.
This study among other similar studies agrees that exercise contributes to better sleep, after several months of continued working out.
How does this happen?
Exercise is an impulse trigger to the body.
During exercise, your body will become more active as the workouts improve the heartbeat pace and the body temperature rises to nearly 2 degrees margin.
After the exercise recommended to take 20-45 minutes, your body temperature and heart beat pace will slow down and four or five hours later, the body temperature falls slightly below the optimum and this state makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
To achieve this, you need to exercise some hours prior to going to bed.
It is recommended to perform exercises in the morning or afternoon and this will allow you to be ready for sleep at the right time of the night, especially after supper.
Exercising prior to the bed or late in the evening should be avoided since your body won’t have enough time to cool down and this will make it difficult to sleep at the right time.
Therefore, you should try and exercise three to six hours before bedtime so that you can have a comfortable and better sleep and this will help combat insomnia
How to exercise for better sleep
Inasmuch as exercise is important to achieving better sleep, maximizing this benefit requires consideration of a number of things.
First, you need to switch up your workouts. This is important since you don’t need to keep performing the same workouts day in day out, doing this will make your body used to them and the impact on the sleep may gradually slow down.
Therefore, try achieving variety in workouts by exploring different types of workouts and try incorporating a new move in your daily exercise.
Find motivators that will help you keep up exercising. For instance, the good comfortable sleep you had that first day you did a workout can be a motivation, so you will work out again to achieve the same feeling and condition you had.
Work out with a friend or trainer, when there is someone encouraging you to do it you are less likely to skip or give up.
Group settings are great too, like an exercise class for adults/seniors held at the community center.
Furthermore, try shifting between aerobic and anaerobic exercises or occasionally mix the two. Aerobic exercises increase the amount of oxygen in the blood and include jogging, swimming, bicycling and generally all exercises that will increase your breathing.
Anaerobic is the opposite and the exercise includes slow walking and bowling. For instance, when you are used to driving home, you can take a walk instead.
Working out during sunlight/outdoors is highly encouraged as the bright light helps regulate the body temperature rhythm making it easier to sleep better.
Mental exercises, like meditation, should not be excluded and unlike physical exercises, they can be done about one hour or less before sleeping.
Brains work vigorously to keep us active during the day and should also be calmed down before sleeping. However, you shouldn’t be bored before bedtime, as this will likely cause anxiety.
To achieve this, keep your mind active through the day by taking up new challenges.
Then relax and sit for some meditation before sleeping.
Continued exercise over time has shown overall improvement in sleeping.
There are fewer side effects associated with exercising compared to taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications, or sleeping pill prescriptions.
Seniors need to be especially aware of prescription sleeping pills, due to potential increased risk of falling or instability.
Therefore with regular exercise, daily, twice a week or weekly you will help yourself sleep better over time and it works for people of all ages.