You don’t need to hit the gym or be a professional athlete to reap the benefits of better sleep. Incidental exercise like gardening, cleaning and walking to the shops can make a big difference. During the winter months staying motivated enough to maintain an exercise regime can be hard, but the more consistent you are the easier it will become. Regular exercise is also great at combating SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and will help you keep a clear and positive mind-set.
As a general goal, try to do 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you can’t fit a 30-minute session into your day, try breaking it up into five minutes here, ten minutes there. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can dramatically improve the quality of your night time sleep, especially when done on a regular basis.
Allocating time for your workout sessions at the start of the week is key to your success – plan, plan, plan! When it comes to exercise, you can’t wait for the perfect time. If you don’t already have a regular activity habit, here are some great ways to sweat your way to sweeter dreams.
Try these exercises to improve your shut-eye!
Go for a walk after dinner
If you’re looking for instant results, consider walking. Even a single bout of moderate exercise, like walking, helps adults with chronic insomnia fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Not only is it good for your zzz’s, but a post-meal stroll can also improve blood sugar control and help ward off type 2 diabetes. Best of all, the only gear you need is a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes.
When it comes to better sleep, it’s hard to beat yoga: a good yoga sequence warms up your body, enhances your flexibility, builds strength, clears your mind through meditation, and wraps up with some relaxation. In fact, a few yoga stretches make a great addition to soothing bedtime routine.
Yoga’s relaxing poses and stretches, as well as the calming breathing exercises that accompany them, may be especially helpful if stress is what’s keeping you from falling asleep. Those with insomnia who do yoga daily for eight weeks are likely to fall asleep faster and increase the amount of time that they spend sleeping.
Get your heart moving
Activities that get your heart rate up, such as skipping, running, brisk walking, cycling, and swimming, have been shown to improve sleep and combat insomnia. Even small bursts, such as 10 minutes, may help, though the goal is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity) aerobic exercise each week.
Pump some iron
Building muscle has been shown to improve the quality of sleep, and it can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less frequently throughout the night. Try exercises like shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep dips, squats, lunges, calf raises, sit-ups, and push-ups, which will make you stronger.