Exercise can be a great tool to better your sleep, that is if you do it the correct way. Sleep gets often neglected and it is one of the most important contributors to our general health, here is how to use exercise to sleep better!
Did you know that 35 percent of Americans do not sleep the minimum seven hours a day required for our body to function well? Resting is paramount for our bodies to repair the damage, even the good damage caused during working out –it is when our muscles enlarge and our metabolism accelerates. There are also the hormonal and mood effects that contribute to our sleep and exercise: exercise can modulate the sleep cycles because of its effect on cortisol and melatonin.
What you should do
- Don’t forget to stretch after working out –this can lead to chronic injuries that can affect how we sleep.
- Do not exercise before going to sleep. While it is true that it may fatigue you and help with the first phase of sleep –falling asleep. But it can lead to micro cramps that affect the quality of sleep.
- Go for a morning walk. The natural light will stimulate the circadian centers, exercise will increase serotonin, dopamine and cortisol levels and lower melatonin levels. This will activate your metabolism and make you rest better.
- Try increasing the intensity and duration of your workout sessions gradually, so your body can adjust more easily.
- Alternate between aerobic and strength exercises. Aerobic will help you breathe better during sleep, gaining strength will help reduce aches and pains.
Can exercise detriment your sleep?
If it is too intense, it can. When we prepare to sleep our body temperature drops, but if we exercise too much the heart rate increases and our body temperature increases too and it will take longer for your body to relax. However, yoga or light stretching can help calm the body down and get a good night’s rest.
How to use exercise to boost sleep
Morning and evening walks are great to realign your body with its circadian rhythms. In the morning it will help produce cortisol and be prepared for your day, and in the evening the low light will regulate your body for sleep.
You may also like this article!