How Exercise Affects Your Sleep

sleep options, memory foam mattress, natural latex mattressDo you feel a little guilty after all that Thanksgiving turkey? Are you planning on hitting the gym at some point today? Well, we’re glad to hear that, and not because we think you need to lose your holiday weight. Exercising has many health benefits that range from better heart health and blood pressure to stress reduction and mood enhancement. But if working out is so good for everyone, then why don’t some people do it? The most frequent excuse for not exercising is because a person claims to be too tired. Ready for the irony? Exercise is a lifestyle habit that can help you get a peaceful, longer night’s sleep and keep you energized throughout the day.

To get the best night’s sleep possible, it is important to exercise at the right time of day. If you exercise at night, either right before your bedtime or up to 3 hours prior, it may be harder for you to fall asleep. This surprises many people, as some believe working out would wear your body down and make you tired before bed. In reality, exercise stimulates the heart, brain and muscles and increases body temperature; this is not something you want to happen before you go to sleep!

Exercising in the morning is a much better option. If you enjoy exercising outdoors, you will be exposing yourself to natural light at the start of your day. This holds benefits for the wake-sleep cycle and can dramatically improve your sleep. Whether you decide to exercise indoors or outdoors, morning exercise has been found to improve mood and decrease stress throughout the day, which will indirectly provide a better night’s rest.

One of the best times to work out is during the late afternoon or early evening. When your body temperature increases during these times, it will begin to fall right around the time you fall asleep. A drop in body temperature helps to put people to sleep. Exercising in the late afternoons or early evenings also helps to eliminate any built up tension that your body may be holding from earlier in the day.

After you have figured out when you can fit exercise into your schedule (morning, late afternoon, or early evening), it’s important to choose the kind of work out you need. It’s important to get your heart rate up for about 20-30 minutes a few times a week. Try different cardiovascular activities such as jogging, walking, kickboxing, bike riding, or jumping rope. Your sleep will greatly improve if you can fit these activities into your schedule 6 times a week. If you can’t find the time, try to at least get your heart rate up for 10 minutes a day. If you have not worked out in a long time or have an underlying health condition, speak to your doctor about the best exercise program for you.

Have you been able to fit exercise into your busy schedule? If so, has it improved your sleep? Please feel free to give us your own exercise experience and tips below!

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