Have you ever felt dull, lethargic, or tired in the morning and felt like you didn’t have enough sleep? This might sound familiar because we have experienced it at some point in our life, and the main reason for this is a bad night’s sleep. When you are stuck in a poor sleep cycle, then no matter what you do, every time you wake up in the morning, you will feel groggy and sometimes having a heavy head. But few know that exercise can help in improving your sleep.
The causes of having poor sleep are many such as a shift in work, parenting a newborn baby, poor mental health, and suffering from insomnia. The side effects of this are weight gain, suffering from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. It is a worldwide accepted notion that 7-8 hours of sleep is one of the best pillars of having good health. Even Sleep Health Foundation has initiated various sleeping awareness programs that highlight the importance of having a good sleep in our lives. And to improve your sleeping patterns, they recommend getting good exercise.
So How Does Exercise Help In Improving Sleeping Patterns?
Most people don’t know that exercise and sleep complement each other very well. Good sleep motivates you to exercise and vice versa. Simple as that! Exercise helps us doze to sleep quickly, for longer and more soundly. It also helps in managing other associated factors like mental health and obesity issues and other several sleeping disorders.
Outdoor exercise helps control body sleep rhythms when exposed to natural light, with which our brains decide whether to secrete sleepy or wakeup chemicals. Exercise leads to a rise in body temperature and a consequent drop, which in turn causes drowsiness and helps in nodding quickly.
How Much And When You Should Exercise?
Getting 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week has shown great results in improving sleep quality. You can divide the 150 minutes of exercise into 30mins of workout each day or any other combination you prefer. Even a 10-minute session daily provides massive benefits to your overall sleeping patterns and improving health.
So what are the measuring criteria of moderate-vigorous exercise? What is the intensity level? So what should you opt for having a wonderful night sleep jog, swimming, or gym session? The workout is a stimulating activity, so doing it right before bed is not the best thing to do. Usually, morning or afternoon activity is the best time to do it. If you join the aerobics session after dropping the kids at school or going to the gym on your way to work will help in getting longer and sound sleep at night. Afternoon exercise will cause the rise and fall in body temperature. This will help in preventing those sleepless nights, counting those sheep as soon as you hit the pillow.
What If Anxiety Or Depression Affects The Sleep?
At the same time, as anxiety and depression don’t always affect sleep, it’s common for people with anxiety or depression to stay awake at night and find it difficult to get that sound sleep. In this case, some gentle stretching or doing yoga in the evening might be a great way to help in getting your body to prepare for sleep. In case you are suffering from anxiety and spend all night up worrying about even petty things, then spending some worrying time along with exercising can be a perfect way to calm your thoughts during the sleeping time. Performing exercise during the day to help with your depression can be the best way to invest in getting a good night’s sleep.
People suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea does not face any issue in falling asleep but not waking up rested. The closures of your airways lead to repeated disruptions with your sleeping patterns. Studies conducted on such individuals have shown that exercise reduces the risk of developing OSA or other risk-related factors and even mitigating the disruptions to your sleep. If you are not sure where to start or have serious concerns, an accredited exercise physiologist can provide guidance. So it is better to consult one before planning your workout schedule.