Sweat your way to sweeter dreams
Want to fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more rested? Get moving!
The benefits of regular exercise and movement throughout the day seem endless. Regular exercise decreases the risk of health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, strokes, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer and arthritis.
Exercise has also been proven to improve your nightlife (sleep, that is). People who are physically active drift off faster and wake up less during the night, getting better overall sleep. And that means waking up feeling more refreshed—and more likely to have the energy to exercise the next day. What’s more, active bodies may reduce their risk for developing troublesome sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome.
Afternoon exercise may also initiate the ‘sleep’ part of your bodies daily cycle. Raising body temperature and then allowing it to drop triggers sleepiness. Exercising in the late afternoon or early evening is ideal because it raises your body temperature, allowing it to start falling just as you’re getting ready for bed. However, as with everything, timing is crucial! Working out too late in the day can leave you feeling wired right before bed, and delay your transition to sleep.
You don’t need to hit the gym or be a professional athlete to reap the benefits of better sleep. Incidental exercise like gardening, cleaning and walking to the shops can make a big difference. As a general goal, try to do 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you can’t fit in a 30-minute session into your day, try breaking it up into five minutes here, ten minutes there. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can dramatically improve the quality of your night time sleep, especially when done on a regular basis.
Just like anything new, it can take some time to adjust to a new exercise routine and see any big changes in sleep patterns. But there’s still enough evidence to say it’s worth committing to a more active lifestyle. So, why not try it out. Get moving!