This Simple Trick Will Help You Sleep More (and Better)
It’s common knowledge that exercise is good for body and soul. And when you’re taking care of yourself by exercising regularly, you’re may even be noticing that you’re not only feeling more energetic during the day, but sleeping better at night.
According to Charlene Gamaldo, M.D. of Johns Hopkins Centre for Sleep, there is solid evidence to state that exercise does help you fall asleep more quickly and also improves your quality of sleep. Furthermore, it can also help stabilise your mood and decompress the mind, which Gamaldo says is a cognitive process that is important for naturally transitioning to sleep. Wanna know more? Here’s a list of benefits exercise can have on your sleep.
You Can Sleep More Deeply
So, how does exercise and sleep work together? Moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of ‘slow wave sleep’ you get. This is the period of sleep that refers to deep sleep, where the brain and the body have a chance to completely restore and rejuvenate themselves. This type of sleep helps boost immune system function, supports cardiac health and controls stress and anxiety.
You Might Get Sleepier, Faster
When you move your body, your core body temperature is raised which has the same effect as taking a hot shower to wake yourself up in the morning. If you’re exercising before bed, the elevation in core body temperature signals to your body that it’s time to be awake. However, between 30-90 minutes afterwards, your body temperature then starts to fall again. This decline can, in fact, help you sleep by increasing sleepiness.
You Could Sleep Even More
Being physically active requires you to expend energy, so naturally, you’re feeling tired after moving your body and are more willing to sleep at night. Research indicates that exercise, particularly exercise that is a part of a consistent routine, can help increase sleep duration by up to an extra hour a night in addition to enhancing sleep quality.
It Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Stress can be a main contributor to sleep problems. It can inhibit your ability to fall asleep, cause restlessness and keep you from staying asleep. A regular exercise routine of any kind is known to reduce stress levels. Exercise acts as a potent remedy for anxiety and other mood disorders. (Even fifteen minutes of exercise can trigger anti-anxiety responses.)
It has been proven that mind-body exercises such as yoga and Pilates can help quiet the parasympathetic nervous system which can help you relax. In addition, these exercises have been shown to lower cortisol levels and reduce blood pressure, as well as having positive effects on mood. But what if you’re one of those people who says exercising before bed keeps you awake? Well, that’s okay too. It has been found that a fair number of individuals feel this way. Why? Exercise causes the body to release endorphins. This release can create a level of activity in the brain that makes it hard to switch off, thus can keep you tossing and turning.
How do you combat that? Experts suggest exercising at least 1-2 hours before going to bed to allow the brain enough time to wind down. At the end of the day, sleep and exercise are two parts of a larger equation. That said, it is important to listen to your body and find a routine that works for you and your lifestyle.
If you are concerned about your health, wellbeing or sleep, your first port of call should be your GP, who will advise a correct treatment plan.
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