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Exercise and sleep are both essential to our overall health, energy levels, and quality of life. Exercise helps to reduce stress, improve mental clarity and focus, increase endurance, and boost metabolism. Sleep is an important part of the body’s recovery process from exercise as well as its general functioning. It also helps us to feel energized and ready for the day.
By combining exercise and sleep, it’s possible to benefit from both in terms of increased energy levels and better quality of life. Regular exercise is important for creating regular sleep patterns and getting enough restful sleep each night. Read more to know how exercising can help you sleep better.
How Does Lack of Sleep and Lack of Physical Activity Affect Daily Life?
When we don’t get enough sleep or exercise, it can have a direct effect on our daily lives. For most people, lack of sleep and physical activity can lead to insomnia, fatigue, increased anxiety, irritability, poor concentration, and memory, decreased alertness, weakened immune system, mood swings, weight gain, decreased motivation, and impaired judgment.
On the other hand, the positive effects of having good sleep and engaging in regular moderate exercise are undeniable. According to research, both can reduce morning sleepiness, alleviate anxiety, decrease the risk of insomnia, improve blood pressure, decrease the risk of excessive weight gain, increase energy levels, and so much more.
Sleep experts suggest that on average, adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Regular physical exercise for at least 30 minutes a day is also recommended. If you’re having trouble sleeping, staying awake, or staying active, research has shown that certain lifestyle changes can help. These include sticking to a regular sleep schedule, avoiding blue light from screens two hours before bed, avoiding caffeine close to bed, and limiting alcohol.
If sleep difficulties persist despite lifestyle changes, it’s important to speak with a doctor and get evaluated for possible sleep disorders. By addressing both sleep and exercise, you can help ensure that you have enough energy for daily tasks as well as an overall improved quality of life. Regular exercise and adequate restful sleep are essential components of a healthy lifestyle.
How Does Exercise Help You Sleep Better?
Exercise has a bidirectional relationship with sleep. For one, exercise increases alertness and energy levels during the day which can lead to better quality nighttime sleep. Getting enough sleep each night helps make exercise easier by providing us with more energy, better muscle coordination, and improved reaction time. Exercise can also reset our body’s circadian rhythm, the natural 24-hour cycle in which our bodies need to rest for optimal functioning.
In contrast, lack of sleep can contribute to lower physical activity. This can lead to increased stress, mood swings, heart problems, weight gain, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
How Many Times a Week Should I Exercise To Get Better Sleep?
The answer to this question varies from person to person. Generally, it’s recommended that adults exercise for at least 20 minutes to 30 minutes three times a week. For those looking to improve sleep, exercise five or six days a week is advised. This will help establish a workout routine and reset your body’s circadian rhythm. It’s also suggested to work out at the same time each day for the best results.
At the same time, take note that too much exercise can be bad for you. Exercising too close to your bedtime can make sleeping more difficult, exacerbating your sleep problems. This is because when you exercise, you raise your body temperature, signaling your brain to be awake. It takes about 30 to 90 minutes for your body temperature to go down.
It’s recommended that you exercise at least four hours before going to sleep. Additionally, try not to exercise within two hours of eating.
Best Exercises to Help You Fall Asleep
Exercise not only improves your health, but it can also help you get better sleep as well. Here are some exercises that you can do to improve the overall quality of your sleep. Try doing these exercises during the day, in the afternoon, or a few hours before bed and see which one works best to help you sleep.
Aerobic exercise is great for improving sleep. This includes activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling. In fact, according to a study, having a moderate aerobic exercise routine lasting six months in length can be highly effective at promoting the deepest, most restorative sleep.
This type of exercise causes us to breathe faster and deeper while increasing our heart rate. Aerobic activities can improve our cardiovascular health and can help reduce stress hormones in the body.
Yoga is also an excellent and relaxing way to reduce stress levels and improve sleep. Yoga helps you relax your body and mind, which can lead to improved sleep quality. Moreover, studies show that yoga has a ton of health benefits for adults over 60 and women with type 2 diabetes. A regular yoga routine can help with weight loss and reduce pain as well.
Stretching is another great way to reduce stress and improve sleep. Stretching helps you relax your muscles, which can ease tension and help promote better sleep. It’s important to remember that stretching should not cause pain.
Be sure to stretch gently, focusing on the areas of your body that are tight or tense. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat as needed.
Resistance exercises can also help you get a good night’s rest. Strength training, weight lifting, and bodyweight exercises help to build muscle strength and increase heart rate. For best results, focus on strength-building activities about two or three times each week for around 40 minutes.
In addition to helping you sleep better, strength training has a wide array of health benefits. It can help improve strength and coordination, reduce body fat, boost metabolism, and decrease risks for injuries or chronic illnesses.
By combining aerobic exercises with strength training, you can benefit from both in terms of improved energy levels, a better quality of life, and a deep sleep each night. If you’re someone who is a beginner at resistance exercises, you can start out with basics such as push-ups and sit-ups, and level up from there.
Breathing exercises are another great way to relax your body and mind, which can help you fall asleep more easily. These relaxation exercises involve focusing on slow, deep breaths while trying to clear your mind of any worries or stress.
One example of a breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 technique. This involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling slowly for 8 seconds. Doing this technique three times can help relax the body and make it easier to fall asleep.
Getting adequate amounts of exercise is essential for your health, and sleep is no exception. Whether you walk to work or in the morning, bike in the afternoon, do strength exercises, and the like, exercise can help you relax before bedtime, which can improve your sleep quality and help you stay asleep throughout the night.
Do note that each person will have their own unique needs when it comes to exercise and bedtime routines. It’s best to experiment with different types of activities to do and what kind of bedtime routine will work for you. Once you find the right balance between bedtime and exercise, you can enjoy both improved overall well-being and get a good night’s sleep at the same time.