Trouble sleeping can feel like it ruins your entire day. You struggle to get your brain to turn off at night, then roll out of bed the next morning feeling as though you have not rested at all.
There’s good news, however: when and how you exercise can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep and your ability to fall asleep at night. Here’s how your workout can help improve your sleep:
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Improves Deep Sleep
Researchers aren’t entirely clear on what it is about exercise that triggers that deeper sleep. They do know, however, that by engaging in moderate aerobic activity during the day, you can increase the time spent in deep sleep. This can lead to you feeling more rested when you wake up the next morning.
The Timing of Exercise for Better Sleep
While exercising can help you get a better night’s sleep, that doesn’t mean that you should jump into an exercise routine immediately before bed. Exercising too late can cause two key challenges. First, it increases your body temperature, which typically signals your body that it’s time to be awake and moving. Second, exercise leads to the production of endorphins, which can signal your body that you need to stay awake.
Ideally, you should finish your exercise routine at least two hours before bedtime for better sleep. Exercising in the morning could also give you an energy jump that lasts for the rest of the day while still increasing the odds of a great night’s sleep that night. If you are running a bit late on your exercise routine, but still want those important sleep benefits, you may find that engaging in yoga or stretching can help you avoid the endorphin high or increased body temperature, allowing you to fall asleep more easily.
The Best Exercises for Improving Sleep
Any type of exercise–including both strength-building exercises and aerobic activity–has the potential to increase the overall quality of your sleep. Try:
Going for a walk around the neighborhood. A nice walk or jog around the neighborhood is a great way to start your day. A steady walk can also help you wind down after dinner or prepare you for a good night’s sleep.
Engaging in some strength-building exercises. Strength-building routines can help increase that vital stage four sleep and leave you feeling more refreshed the next morning. You can perform exercises like sit-ups, pushups, pull-ups, and squats from home with ease, with no equipment required. Purchasing a few hand weights can increase the number of exercises you can perform from your home gym–or from the comfort of your living room–as you add in bicep curls and more.
Adding yoga to your routine. Yoga is a great way to stretch out your body’s aches, focus on your breathing, and relax at the end of a long day. Many people find that a yoga session can help decrease tension and lead to a much better night’s sleep.
Doing a new workout or dancing to your favorite song. Check out Sworkit’s workout of the day, which will offer a new workout every day to help keep things fresh. Or simply turn on your favorite song and just start dancing! A little fun can transform your workout and make you more eager to keep it as part of your routine.
If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, try adapting your exercise routine. A little aerobic activity each day, even if it’s as simple as a walk around the block, can go a long way toward improving the overall quality of your sleep. This will leave you feeling better-rested and prepared to tackle each day.