Exercise for Better Sleep
First of all, to understand Exercise for Better Sleep you need to understand Exercise-Sleep Connection - Everyone’s body temperature naturally goes up slightly in the daytime and back down at night, reaching its low just before dawn. Decreasing body temperature seems to be a trigger, signaling the body that it’s time to sleep. Vigorous exercise temporarily raises the body temperature as much as two degrees. Twenty or so minutes of aerobic exercise is sufficient to keep the body temperature at this higher level for a period of few hours, after which it drops. This lower body temperature is what helps you sleep better. So if you exercise five to six hours before going to bed, you will be attempting to sleep at the same time your temperature is beginning to go down.
People who exercised reported that their sleep quality improved, raising their diagnosis from poor to good sleeper. They also reported fewer depressive symptoms, more vitality, and less sleepiness in the daytime.
When it comes to having a direct effect on getting a good night’s sleep, it’s vigorous exercise in the late afternoon or early evening that appears most beneficial. That’s because it raises your body temperature above normal a few hours before bed, allowing it to start falling just as you’re getting ready for bed. So, try to schedule at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three or four times a week.
Better Sleep quick Tips
- Set a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late.
- Wake up at the same time every day. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime.
- Take naps to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. This strategy allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm, which often backfires in insomnia and throws you off for days.
- Be smart about napping. While taking a nap can be a great way to recharge, especially for older adults, it can make insomnia worse. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating napping.
- Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you find yourself getting sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day.
Exercise and Bright Lights
Exercise may also help people to sleep because people often exercise outside, increasing their exposure to bright sunlight. This bright light exposure helps to properly regulate the body temperature which makes it easier to sleep better. Exercise and exposure to sunlight factors, may help explain why people find it so easy to sleep well when they have spent extended time outdoors.
Increase light exposure during the day
- Remove your sunglasses in the morning and let light onto your face.
- Spend more time outside during daylight. Try to take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night.
- Let as much light into your home/workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window.
- If necessary, use a light therapy box. A light therapy box can simulate sunshine and can be especially useful during short winter days when there’s limited daylight.
Boost Melatonin Production
- Turn off your television and computer. People use the television to fall asleep or relax at the end of the day, and this is a mistake. Not only does the light suppress melatonin production, but television can actually stimulate the mind, rather than relaxing it.
- Don’t read from a backlit device at night (such as an iPad). If you use a portable electronic device to read, use an eReader that has no backlit.
- Avoid bright lights before bed, use low-wattage bulbs if possible.
- When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark. The darker it is, the better you’ll sleep. Cover electrical displays, use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows.
- Use a flashlight to go to the bathroom at night. If you wake up during the night to use the bathroom, keep the light to a minimum so it will be easier to go back to sleep.
Better Sleep = Less Stress
Stress is our response to daily life. It affects us emotionally, physically, and behaviorally. The right amount of stress can be a positive force that helps us to do our best and to keep alert and energetic. Too much stress, however, can make us tense, anxious, and can cause sleep problems. But, by having better, longer, and more quality sleep will get your stress levels back to normal.
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