To replenish and relax, we all require adequate slumber. It functions as the time out that our bodies use to rest in order to regain energy. And, given its importance, we all take steps to improve our sleep, such as investing in a high quality mattress and bedding and making our bedroom as relaxing as possible. But what if we told you there was a simple, effective way to enhance your sleep? It's not a magic pill or an elusive remedy—it's physical activity.
Physical activities not only help us keep physically active, but they also improve our cognitive function and mental health, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase the quality of our sleep. Let's dig right in to discover how regular exercise can favourably influence our sleep patterns and when to exercise and when to avoid it.
Connection of physical activities and sleep
Several research indicates that during exercise, our bodies release chemicals and hormones that boost our metabolism, manage cholesterol, promote heart health, keep us energetic and healthy, and improve REM or deep sleep. Different activities and when they are done have distinct effects on our health. Here is how exercising affects you-
Improves sleep quality: Staying active can enhance sleep quality, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep all night. Exercise boosts the production of endorphins, decreases stress, and aids in mood regulation, all of which can contribute to improved slumber.
Increase sleeping duration: Exercising during the day can help increase the duration of naps. Physical exertion and exercise stimulate the body, leading to natural tiredness that promotes a more extended period of slumber.
Enhance sleep efficiency: Regular exercise can improve sleep efficiency, which is the ratio of time spent asleep to total time spent in bed. Exercise can assist regulate the circadian rhythm of the body and promote a more regular sleep-wake cycle, resulting in more effective sleeping patterns.
Stress reduction: Activities such as aerobics and yoga can help to relieve tension and promote relaxation. It can help decrease common slumber disruptors like anxiety and racing thoughts by lowering stress, making it simpler to attain deep slumber.
Energy expenditure: Physical activities require energy expenditure and can tire the body. This physical fatigue can contribute to a deeper and more restorative siesta, allowing the body to recover and rejuvenate during the night.
Sleep disorders: Regular exercise has been demonstrated to help with a variety of sleep disorders, including insomnia and sleep apnea. It can aid in the regulation of sleep-wake cycles, the improvement of breathing patterns, and the reduction of symptoms associated with sleep disorders.
Types of physical activities to enhance sleep quality
When it comes to engaging in physical activities most people think of going to Gym and working out for hours. This might suit some people and even benefits them but it is not the only type of physical activity. For better results, the key is to find activities that you enjoy and that suits your fitness level. Here are some options:
Practicing yoga is known for its calming and relaxing effects. It combines physical movement, stretching, and deep breathing, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga is a thorough exercise package that improves not only our physical but also our mental health. Yoga entails the practice of numerous poses/postures called asanas, which include and affect every aspect of our body. It strengthens, increases agility and flexibility, and improves the internal organs. Certain yoga poses, such as forward bends and gentle twists, can be particularly beneficial for preparing the body for rest. Yoga enhances slumber by boosting our health, it is thus a good physical activity option if you want to stay healthy and improve your slumber.
2. Jogging | Walking | Running
These are aerobics exercises, also known as most common cardio. For those who have trouble doing heavy workouts or are unable to do other physical activities, walking, jogging or running is the best solution. Half an hour of brisk walking is enough, or if you prefer you can jog or run. You could do it in the morning or evening, or as you prefer.
3. Aerobic Exercises
Engaging in aerobic activities such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing can help increase your heart rate and improve cardiovascular fitness. These exercises stimulate the release of endorphins, promoting better slumber and overall well-being.
4. Strength Training
Incorporating strength training exercises, such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises, into your routine can help improve muscle strength and overall fitness. Strength training promotes the release of growth hormones, which aid in muscle repair and recovery during snooze.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise method that focuses on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness. It can help improve posture, balance, and overall body coordination. Regular Pilates practice may contribute to better sleep by reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation.
6. Outdoor Activities
Engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, gardening, or playing a sport can offer multiple benefits for sleep quality. Being exposed to natural light during the day helps regulate your circadian rhythm while being in nature can reduce stress and enhance mood.
The best time to exercise or practice physical activities
The best time to exercise or engage in physical activities can vary depending on individual preferences, schedules, and goals. Some people are naturally more energetic and motivated in the morning, while others prefer to exercise later in the day. Consider your own energy levels and when you feel most alert and ready to engage in physical activity. Try different times to exercise and see which feels more comfortable and beneficial for you.
Look at your daily routine and determine when you have the most uninterrupted time available for exercise. It could be early morning before work, during lunch breaks, or in the evening after work. Choose a time slot that allows you to consistently commit to your fitness routine.
Remember, there is no universal "best" time to exercise that applies to everyone. It's important to listen to your body, be mindful of your schedule, and find a time that works best for you personally. Ultimately, regular exercise and consistency matter more than the specific time of day you choose to work out.
When not to exercise
While frequent physical activity is related to improved health in general, doing it at the wrong time and in the wrong condition can have detrimental consequences. So, it is critical to understand when not to exercise or participate in physical activity. Exercising too close to bedtime may cause heightened alertness and make it difficult for some people to fall asleep. Allowing a few hours between exercise and bedtime is recommended to give the body time to wind down. It is also beneficial to become more acquainted with your body, as well as your limitations and the types of exercise that are not suitable for you. Furthermore, some medical disorders hinder us from engaging in physical activity. Hence, it is advised that before you start any exercise, make sure that it will help you and not cause more harm.
Incorporating regular physical activities into your routine can contribute to improved sleep quality, duration, and overall health. However, individual experiences may vary, and it's essential to listen to your body and find a routine that works best for you.
Remember, it's important to listen to your body and choose activities that are suitable for your fitness level and any underlying health conditions. It's also recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or fitness instructor if you have any concerns or specific needs.
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