Wouldn't it be nice to go to bed at night, fall asleep quickly, not toss and turn and sleep soundly throughout the entire night?
For lots of us, this just isn't a possibility, perhaps you sleep with a snorer (we can help with that one), have young kids, or you're just a restless sleeper. But there are things that can be done to help with improving your sleep and the main one... Exercise.
How exercise helps you sleep
It has been proven, time after time, that an increase in exercise does have a positive effect on your sleep. Increasing how active you are in day to day life will not only improve how long you sleep, but also how well you sleep. Regular exercise is a great way to encourage deep sleep and this means each night you stack up more hours of slumber.
Regular exercise has so many positive effects on your lifestyle, which in turn make you sleep better. Finding a physical activity that you enjoy, and will keep doing time after time will lift your mood and reduce stress levels. Who can honestly say they haven't stayed awake late at night due to stress, only to suffer the next day from exhaustion. It can become a bit of a vicious cycle. Making sure you find time for you to de-stress before bed, whether that's going for a run or spending 30 minutes doing yoga, these exercises, will improve sleep and reduce stress.
Exercise is also known to have amazing results for other sleep conditions like snoring and restless leg syndrome.
When to exercise to improve sleep
The question is... if the overall aim is to get more sleep, why would you wake yourself up an hour earlier to exercise?
The majority of us are making time to exercise early in the morning, or late at night. A workout straight before bed will have the desired effect of wearing you out. Actually you will become more alert after this initial exhaustion, damaging your aim of improving sleep. An early morning workout has the opposite effect, it's great for your well-being in terms of stress, but not your sleep.
For your workouts to impact your sleep cycle try to squeeze them in late afternoon or early evening. This means you raise your body temperature above average a few hours before you head to bed. Gradually your body temperature and heart rate slowly decrease at just the right time of night, easing you into a deep sleep.
How much exercise should you be doing?
One workout unfortunately does not mean a wonderful solid 8 hours sleep tonight. You may well feel more tired in the evenings, craving an early night, but random bursts of exercise actually have a negative impact on your sleep patterns.
Good things come to those who wait. The same is true when it comes to reaping the benefits of sumptuous sleep.
Not being consistent with your routine for exercise will leave you sleeping well, but feeling more tired during the day. In some cases it can take up to 4 months of a consistent workout routine to have a positive effect on your sleep. But it's well worth the wait... deep sleep night after night.
If you're craving better sleep then getting more active is the way to go, but remember to be patient, find something you love doing and you'll always sleep well.