We all need to exercise regularly for optimal health. One of the many advantages of exercising is that your sleep quality improves significantly, saving you from dependency on sleeping medication. The entry below explains how exercise can help you improve sleep quality, among other things.
Exercise Tires You Out
Any high or low-intensity exercise depletes your energy, leaving you tired. According to studies, tired people tend to fall asleep faster. Also, people who exercise tend to sleep longer as their body needs extra sleep to replenish the used-up energy.
During the pandemic, when most people were forced to stay indoors, medics discovered that more people were purchasing sleeping pills as they claimed it was becoming increasingly difficult to fall asleep. Most people had stopped exercising and experienced no physical exertion, making it harder to sleep.
However, just because exercise tires you out does not mean you should push yourself to exhaustion while working out because that will cause more harm than good.
Helps Prevent Sleep Disorders
Research shows that exercise helps prevent sleep conditions such as insomnia, restless Leg syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea. Here is how:
Restless leg syndrome
As the name suggests, people suffering from restless leg syndrome are neurologically triggered to keep shaking their legs such that they can’t fall asleep. And when they do, they keep waking up. However, ample exercise increases blood circulation to your legs, reducing restless leg syndrome’s effects.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is when the muscles that support the back of your throat relax so much that your airways get blocked. When the aforementioned happens, you will stop breathing; hence your body jerks you up from sleep to protect you from suffocating to death, and the cycle continues.
By performing endurance exercises consistently, you will strengthen your throat muscles o, reducing and eventually overcoming the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
As you get older or if you are under emotional duress, the chances of developing insomnia increase. Thankfully, research shows that people who perform anaerobic exercises for at least 30 minutes daily tend to overcome their insomnia. However, to see any significant changes, you should exercise consistently for at least a month and then keep going.
Alleviates Stress and Anxiety
Sleep and anxiety can often keep you up at night as your mind remains active. However, when you exercise, your body releases endorphins– otherwise known as happy hormones.
Keeping in mind that your brain cannot concentrate on two extreme emotions to the same degree, you will be forced to focus on the positive feeling brought by the endorphins allowing you to fall asleep.
Mimics your Natural Circadian Clock
The circadian clock is your body’s natural body clock. It signals your brain when it is time to sleep (among other things). Therefore, when you perform anaerobic exercises, your body temperature increases, preceded by a gradual temperature drop.
The fluctuation in temperature mimics the natural circadian rhythm that happens naturally to prepare you for sleep. Therefore, if you exercise close to bedtime, you will trick your body into thinking it is almost time to sleep. And since you will be mentally prepared, it will be easier to fall asleep.
How To Time Your Exercises Properly for the Best Sleep
Contrary to popular opinion, working out in the evening near bedtime does not negatively affect your sleep schedule. According to research, people who work out earlier in the day sleep longer, and those who work out in the evenings fall asleep faster. Therefore, you should experiment and find a time that works for you.
However, considering exercise quickens your heart rate and increases your body temperature, it is best to let your body functions return to normal before bed to sleep better. That said, give yourself two hours or more between the time your workout ends and when you go to sleep.
Best Type of Exercises To Improve Sleep
Considering bodies react differently to exercise, there is no ‘one size fits all’ workout to help you improve your sleep schedule.
Therefore, it is always advisable to find an exercise that will yield the best results and stick to it. However, here are some exercises that many prefer to improve their sleeping schedules.
While few studies show a correlation between yoga and improved sleep, many people swear by a yoga session to help them fall asleep better and faster.
Since yoga puts you in a state of relaxation, all your worries will be alleviated for the moment allowing your brain to transition to a state of sleep more easily.
Also, if done well, yoga helps improve blood circulation, which translates to better cardiovascular health and, ultimately, better sleep.
According to research published by a popular journal, resistance exercises, also known as strength training, can help you fall asleep faster. In addition, they help improve the quality of sleep.
Some popular strength training exercises include lifting weights, using resistance bands, push-ups, etc. The trick is to repeat the exercises for as many sets as possible. Then you should fall asleep faster and for longer.
Anaerobic exercises increase your heart rate and blood circulation, preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Performing anaerobic exercises for prolonged periods helps improve the quality of sleep. Also, contrary to popular belief, studies show moderate anaerobic exercises are better than high-intensity anaerobic workouts for improving sleep quality.
Some popular anaerobic exercises include running, swimming, crunches, curls, bike riding, and walking.
Being unable to sleep at night is daunting, especially because you will feel lethargic the next day. In addition, it can affect your social life and effectiveness in completing work tasks.
Luckily, one of the ways you can prevent sleeplessness and improve sleep quality is by exercising. The information above contains all proof of how exercise can help you sleep better. So if you are having trouble sleeping, you now have enough motivation to start working out.