Living a healthy life means eating correct, sleeping right and staying fit. These are not individual factors but are interlinked to one another. Exercising helps cleanse not just the body, but the mind as well. Regular exercise improves your health, keeps diseases away, and boosts your strength and stamina. However, when you don’t eat right, you don’t have the energy to be productive or exercise. This can also contribute to sleepless nights or interrupted sleep. While it is highly essential to eat the right food for better sleep, exercising plays an equally important role in ensuring you sleep well and stay asleep through the night.
Scientists and doctors recommend working out at least half an hour a day, for five days a week, to stay fit and healthy. However, it is also recommended that any form of exercise should not be done close to bedtime as it can leave you highly energized and awake for a long time, disrupting the whole point of the exercise.
Ideally, work out in the early morning, right after waking up. As exercise increases your core body temperature, working out in the morning gives the body time to cool down by night leaving you drowsy and sleepy. Moreover, working out in the morning can also ensure you are highly productive throughout the day.
The key point to remember about exercising to improve your sleep is that it does not happen overnight. The New York Times posted a study done with middle-aged and old aged women with and without sleeping problems. The respondents were asked to exercise three or four times a week for thirty minutes for over sixteen weeks. For women with no sleeping problems, it was found that exercising helped them sleep longer or sleep deeper. However, for women with sleeping problems, progress was much slower. The study thereby found that when people have pre-existing sleeping problems, the benefits of exercise were seen very gradually over months as compared to women without sleeping problems. The study highlights that while exercising is not an overnight remedy to sleeping problems, it can, over time show the following results:
- Improve sleep quality as physical exercise when done regularly leaves you tired and in need of long rest.
- When developing the habit of exercising regularly and falling asleep at the same time every day, the body clock automatically gets adjusted to the routine ensuring that you fall asleep at the given time and stay asleep through the night.
- Exercising releases hormones like adrenaline and endorphin that relaxes your mind, keeping you stress-free but also tired enough to easily fall asleep.
- Sleep has as much effect over exercise as exercise has on sleeping patterns. They are interdependent factors, hence, regular exercise results in better sleep and vis-a-vis.
Read our story about developing a healthy bedtime routine to understand why a healthy routine before bed and the next morning routine is highly essential to maintaining good sleeping habits. Include morning exercise as part of your wake-up routine to see lasting changes in your sleep patterns.