The best exercises for sleep that you can do at night
Are you convinced that if you want to discover the benefits of exercises to help you sleep, you need to get your work outs done early in the day? Well, we might be about to blow your mind.
While exercise has hundreds of well-documented health benefits, researchers are still investigating the exact impact that a regular routine can have on your snoozing patterns. Specialists everywhere are beginning to learn that exercise – particularly that of the moderate to intense variety, could help you to achieve a better quality of sleep.
Exercise has the power to help you drift off to sleep faster when you would otherwise spend hours staring at the ceiling, and it could even mean that you start to overcome common disorders like sleep anxiety, and even sleep walking.
Perhaps the most exciting news that we have to deliver today is that insomnia exercises don’t have to be relegated to first thing in a morning either. You can exercise before bed and still get a great quality of rest as a result.
Intrigued? Read on to find out more.
Exercise and insomnia: How workouts knock you out
It’s easy to see how regular exercise could help you sleep.
If you’ve ever spent a long day in the gym, or challenged yourself to some exhausting physical activity, then you’ll know that putting your body under pressure makes you crave your bed a lot more. When you’re exhausted from working hard on your exercise routine, you’re far more likely to fall asleep quickly at night. Specialists use this same theory for sleep restriction therapy, suggesting that the more your body needs sleep, the easier it will be to achieve it.
However, there’s more to exercises for sleep than wearing yourself out every day. A systematic review in 2017 found that there’s mounting evidence to show that exercise is a powerful tool for people with insomnia. The study suggest that regular exercise can help you gain more control over your routine, fall asleep faster when you go to bed, and stay asleep for longer too.
One of the biggest benefits of exercises for sleep that people can encounter at night, is that they help to counteract the effects of stress, anxiety and depression. For years, specialists have recommended exercise as part of a full treatment plan for people with anxiety and stress issues. When you exercise, your body releases serotonin, which puts you in a mood that’s more conducive to relaxation and happiness.
At the same time, a little strategic exercise before bed can also take your mind off the things that are making going to sleep a nightmare. If you’re focused on your next yoga position, or you’re counting your sit-ups, you can’t also be worrying about what’s going to happen at work tomorrow. Some studies have even found that participating in regular exercise training was a cheap and effective alternative to taking sleep-inducing drugs.
How to use exercises to fall asleep
For a long time, fitness experts and doctors alike advised their patients that morning was best time to exercise for insomnia. Part of the reason for this is that working out in the morning allows you to expose yourself to more natural light, which helps to re-set the circadian rhythm. However, doctors were also concerned that exercising too close to bedtime would increase the heart rate and lead to more restless sleep.
Now, however, we’re beginning to see that the right exercises before bed can actually help to slow the body down, prevent anxiety, and create the perfect environment for sleep.
Usually, the best exercises for sleep to do before bed are the ones that will help you to overcome feelings of stress and anxiety. Tension-relieving exercises combined with a regular routine that supports your sleep hygiene strategy could mean that you fall asleep a lot faster each night. The following gentle exercises for sleep may be a good way to get started.
Similar to yoga, pilates, is excellent at encouraging better sleep. Pilates is all about using gentle movement to stretch out your body, get rid of excess energy and centre your mind. For instance, the roll-down cool down and warm-up move in pilates is great for shaking off additional stress in the evenings. Just start by standing with your feet apart and your hands by you sides.
Using the muscles in your stomach, bend forward and let your arms reach towards the floor. Try touching the ground with the tips of your fingers and hold the pose for a second or two before gradually raising up again.
Yoga is probably one of the most popular exercises to help you sleep. Although sometimes yoga can be used to re-energize the body when you wake up each morning, it can also get rid of tension that might be stopping you from feeling comfortable when you go to bed.
For instance, try the “legs against the wall pose” to open your body up in time for bed. Lie on your back and push your rear end as close to a wall as possible, so that you need to lift your legs and rest them against the wall. Hold that pose for a few seconds, stretching your toes to the ceiling.
Yoga, pilates, or any form of stretching before bed is one of the best exercises for sleep, particularly if you spend most of your day sitting. It’s easy to be kept awake by problems with circulation or aches in your muscles caused by inactivity during the day. Stretching helps you to rediscover the comfort you need for a good night of rest.
Finally, one of the most obvious best exercises for sleep at night is meditation, or anything that you can use to actively relax before sleep. If you’re stressed about something from the day that you’ve left behind, or you’re anxious about the day ahead, then relaxation exercises can help to bring you back into the moment, so you’re less likely to stay awake and stare at the clock.
For instance, one easy strategy for mindful meditation involves lying in bed and tensing your toes fingers, and every other muscle you can think of in your body. You tighten each muscle one a time, then actively release the tension, paying attention to what it feels like to let that strain go.
If you’ve never tried meditation techniques before, or you’re new to active relaxation, you can consider downloading apps like Headspace to help guide you through the process. Meditation apps are growing increasingly popular for today’s always active people.
What’s the best exercise for insomnia?
So, what’s the best exercise for sleep out of all the options available today?
Well, like most sleep disorder treatment solutions, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Any kind of low-impact exercise that doesn’t get your heart racing too much before you go to bed can make a positive difference to your sleep hygiene routine.
According to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep medicine, commitment to regular exercise over a long-term period can help insomniacs to overcome their most pressing sleeping concerns and start sleeping more soundly. While there are other things that you’ll need to think about when you’re overcoming insomnia, like how you can improve your sleep hygiene routine or stop yourself from being woken up by distractions during the night, exercise is a good way to start.
The best exercise for sleep can even be something that you implement into your regular nightly schedule. For instance, after dinner each night, you might do some brief strength exercise, followed by a hot bath, and then some meditation before sleep. A good routine helps to tell your brain that it’s time to drift off.
One interesting option to consider for your insomnia exercises is a strength workout. Building muscle is a process that has been proven to improve the quality of sleep, and help you fall asleep faster at night. Try doing exercises like shoulder presses, triceps dips, bicep curls and calf raises to make yourself stronger over time. Something as simple as a few sit-ups before bed could be a great way to start building your core strength.
Keep in mind however that strength workouts are the most effective in the evening for people who already prefer evening workouts. Ultimately, if you push yourself to work out regularly during the evening with strength training exercises, your body will adapt to be stronger at the times of day when you typically train.
Making the most of exercises for sleep
If you’re looking for an easy way to improve your sleep quality, without relying on chemicals or medication, then an exercise routine could be the answer. Insomnia is something that countless people around the world are dealing with every day. The more you allow sleep deprivation to get the better of you, the more likely it is that you’ll be left walking around like a zombie each day, struggling to get the most out of your life.
Fortunately, insomnia exercises can make a difference. Investing in exercise to fall asleep, whether it’s a strength routine on an evening, or a yoga session before bed, can help to make a real difference. Contrary to popular belief, not all exercises are bad for you to do before you go to bed. It all depends on the kind of exercise you’re doing.
To learn more about the natural ways that you can improve your sleeping patterns, check out some of the other articles here on siestio.com!