When you suffer from insomnia, you tend to rise in the morning feeling tired and sluggish. It is easy to use fatigue as an excuse to skip the exercise, but research shows that it is beneficial not just for cardiovascular health and brain function, but also for improved sleep. A study published in 2011 in the Journal of Mental Health and Physical Activity found that a representative sample of more than 2,600 Americans slept considerably better and felt more alert during the daytime after exercising at least 150 minutes per week. In fact, they experienced 65% improvement in sleep quality, and felt less sleepy during the day! So, how do you get started?
Set Exercise Goals
To increase your chance of success, the American Council on Exercise suggests setting goals that are SMART:
- Specific – Choose exercise sessions that are easy to understand and plan out.
- Measurable –Stay away from vague proclamations and aim for goals that you can check off.
- Attainable – Set the bar at a place that challenges you a bit, but is not so insanely hard that you are likely to quit.
- Relevant – What motivates you? Do you enjoy walking or swimming?
- Time-bound –Set a time frame to complete goals in.
There are techniques that work well for many who require sleep and who aren’t getting the amount of sleep they need. Harvard Medical School put the following tips together in one list. This is the first article in a series of two that will share these tips in detail. This article will share the first four of the eight techniques to try:
When our bodies are physically tired, it’s more likely to fall right into sleep when it comes to bedtime. For instance, sleep specialist Mohammad Hasin agrees that “to ensure good sleep, it’s important that you tire your body out.” He suggests to exercise shortly before going to sleep, whether that’s running, cycling, or going for a brisk walk. The energy spent during the physical exercise can facilitate feeling fatigued enough to sleep. Furthermore, gym instructor Meghna Raju commented, “I’ve advised my clients to go for a jog in the evening, just before their dinner. This way, they feel relaxed and are also too tired to sit up in the night or indulge in other activities.” Exercise is a great way to keep the active mind at bay, which can get in the way of trying to fall asleep. By spending your energy physically, you create enough fatigue to fall asleep. Continue reading