Does Being Active Promote Better Sleep?
Do you need to count sheep before the Sandman pays you a visit? As it turns out, this is quite common in adults and elderly people all over the world. Sleep deprivation and low-quality sleep, in general, are quite common all over the world, regardless of gender, race, or culture.
Health practitioners and sleep specialists attribute this to stress, health problems, and anxiety but some say sleep problems also point to an unhealthy lifestyle. Now, regardless of the reasons, it’s important to assess your sleep quality and see if you should be worried and if the way you sleep impacts your life in a negative way.
Do You Wake Up Tired?
As it turns out, feeling tired after sleeping is not necessarily a good indicator of poor sleep quality. This is true, especially if you’re no longer in your 20s when your energy levels are through the roof.
As we mature, waking up becomes more of a transitional state during which we feel groggy, less active, and our senses are impaired. So, if you wake up feeling tired it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
However, if you can’t shake off the fatigue even after you’ve washed your face, done a bit of stretching, and had your coffee or tea, you should pay a bit more attention to your habits. Also, if the state of fatigue continues throughout the day you may want to start implementing healthier habits that will help you sleep better.
Does Being Active Help?
According to the Sleep Foundation, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise practised on a regular basis can help improve sleep quality and even help individuals suffering from insomnia. However, it’s important to stick with moderate-intensity activities like walking to reap these benefits.
More vigorous exercises, like running or weight lifting don’t seem to have the same effect on sleep quality. So it’s a matter of the type of activity you practice, how long, and how often.
When and How to Exercise for Better Sleep?
Many people who exercise before sleep complain that they can’t fall asleep or have trouble reaching a deep state of sleep (which is the part of the REM cycle when you actually get some rest).
Now, this happens because aerobic exercise promotes the release of endorphins (that feel-good feeling you get after a workout).
If you are a bit more sensitive to their effects, you may have trouble falling asleep, which can ruin your entire sleep cycle. To avoid such a situation, it’s best to exercise at least one or two hours before going to bed.
Another reason why you may have trouble going into the dream world after a workout is an increase in core temperature.
If your temperature is higher (which happens when you sweat and your heart beats faster), the brain will think it’s time to stay wide awake. Again, it is recommended to do your workout at least 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime.
Quick tip: as your temperature starts to decline, you’ll start feeling sleepy. So, when you work out 60 or 90 minutes before bedtime, you have a better chance of falling asleep faster.
The good news is that physical activity can help improve sleep quality as long as you don’t overdo it. However, there are other things you can use to sleep better if you can’t exercise or you don’t feel much of an improvement.
Overall, a short walk in the evening followed by a shower and a warm cup of tea should do the trick. But you need to stay away from any screens (TV, phone, tablet) and stimuli when your head hits the pillow!
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