Exercise is important for a healthy life. Having a healthy body and a relaxed mind will increase your chances of being able to fall asleep and gain the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Not only will exercise reduce the risk of premature death from heart disease and other diseases, it will also help keep your joints bones and muscles strong and healthy. Exercise also affects mood and a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of Depression, which can affect your ability to sleep.
Too Tired to Exercise
Many poor sleepers report feeling too tired to exercise during the day, and lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity. Research has shown that obesity is related to sleep loss and may be contribute towards poor eating habits. Obesity, joint pain, muscle spasms and high blood pressure are just a few of the conditions that will affect your ability to fall and stay asleep. Most of us have experienced a sleepless night caused by a cough or a cold, or a sore foot. While pain and discomfort will make it difficult to fall asleep, tired muscles should make it easier to relax.
Stimulating the Mind
Exercise stimulates the body and the mind. The ‘high’ that many people feel after exercising will give you renewed energy and a feeling of wellbeing. Increased blood flow and oxygen in the body affects the central nervous system. The mind is also affected by the release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. It is believed that these endorphins, which are produced by the brain and the pituitary gland, are the reason we feel good after exercise.
Time to Exercise for Sleep
However, although you may feel physically relaxed, the mind will take longer to relax. So exercising too close to bedtime may make it harder to fall asleep. Therefore, try to exercise earlier in the day. Exercise in the morning is a great way to start the day. This may be difficult, especially after a poor night’s sleep, but the benefits of a boost in energy and feeling alert will help you get through the day.
Find a time which you can fit in on a regular basis. If you can only exercise in the evening, try to do this as early as possible. Remember, eating can also affect your ability to sleep so an evening in the gym followed by a large meal will leave you tossing and turning at bedtime.
Types of Exercise for Sleep
The physical benefits that will help you sleep include weight loss, Stress Reduction, improved cardiovascular functioning and increased joint mobility. A combination of aerobic exercise that will get the heart and lungs working, and stretching, that will help you relax, is ideal.
Committing to Sleep
The health benefits of exercise and improved sleep are a long-term commitment. Although many notice an almost immediate improvement in their feeling of wellbeing and their ability to sleep, commitment is essential.
This means it is important to fit exercise into your life on a regular basis. It is recommended that aerobic exercise is included at least 2-3 times a week, and 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise will give you the health benefits that will make a difference to your life. Exercise in the fresh air is particularly beneficial and a daily walk will improve your fitness and calm the mind.
Make sure you find something you enjoy doing. Many find gyms and health clubs have all the facilities that will help them get fit. The opportunity to meet people and try new classes and different sports can help keep you motivated. For others, individual activities such as running or cycling may be more enjoyable and easier to fit into a busy life.
Whatever you chose, and however quickly you feel the benefits, it is important to keep going. We need to sleep every night for the rest of our lives, so it is important to try to get the best night’s sleep possible. Making time to exercise is one way to increase our chances of a good night’s sleep.
Always check with your GP before starting a new exercise programme.