We all know that exercise that can help you lose weight and get more energy, but what about helping you sleep? Studies have shown that people, particularly women, who regularly exercise during the day, sleep longer and better at night. So, before you reach for the sleeping pills why not try going for a run, taking a trip to the gym, or signing up for a yoga class.
Many people have trouble sleeping because they are overly stressed. The worst part about this is that sleep deprivation can increase your cortisol levels, which makes you feel more stressed. It can also make you irritable and less able to deal with stressful situations. This is why most insomniacs have increased levels of stress hormones. While exercise makes these hormones rise initially, after several hours the levels fall. These hormones levels actually become lower than before you exercised and lower than they would be if you hadnt worked out. Regular exercise can end the vicious sleep-stress cycle once and for all.
Most insomniacs simply cant clear their mind of their problems when they lay down to bed. The stresses of the day run repeatedly through their minds instead of relaxing. Exercise can be a time to escape the stressors around you and figure out solutions to your problems. If you figured out what to do about your latest work crisis during your morning run, you dont have to stress over it at bedtime. This leaves your brain free to sleep.
Exercising also makes you need sleep more. The more you work your muscles, the more they need to regenerate through sleep. While you may think this just going to make you more tired when you cant sleep, it will probably actually help you have a deeper, more restful sleep. Even if you cant sleep more, youll sleep better and be more rested and energized in the morning.
An important part of using exercise to cure insomnia is timing. As I already mentioned, exercise produces chemicals in your brain that make you feel more awake and energized. This is why its not a good idea to exercise before bedtime, but how close is too close? It is generally recommended that you exercise more than four hours before you sleep; however, you may find you need a longer rest period. If you find youre not sleepy, start pushing your exercise earlier gradually till you find a good time. Obviously, the best time to exercise is in the morning, and this will make you feel more energized all day long.
If you absolutely cant exercise during the day, there are things you can do at night instead (or in addition) to help you get to sleep. Studies have shown that exercises as simple as stretching can help improve insomnia symptoms. You can try doing stretches or yoga closer to bedtime to help you relax. You can find books or join a class to learn specific positions and more to promote relaxation and sleep.
While exercise helps you sleep more, it has other wonderful benefits. Exercise helps you lose weight, feel great, and have more energy during the day (and so will sleep). Before you try supplements, pills, or other crazy sleep solutions, try working out first. It will cure your insomnia along with some great positive side effects.