Why exercising during the day helps you sleep

Most likely, you think of exercise in terms of keeping fit rather than as an aid to gaining healthy sleep. However, adopting a regular exercise routine during the day could be beneficial to you if you sometimes find getting to sleep difficult. In addition, light stretches, deep breathing and yoga could help you relax and unwind in the evening, thus relieving you of stress and helping you sleep when bedtime arrives.

The best time of day to exercise

Several types of exercise, including vigorous, cardiovascular workouts, and more gentle exercise can help induce relaxation. The former kind can trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which is widely associated with the fight or flight syndrome, and readies you for action.

When you are preparing to sleep, you don’t want your mind and body to be in a state of high alert, as this is likely to keep you awake. Experts recommend that you don’t engage in an energetic workout late in the evening, but instead, practice mindful exercise involving moderate stretches at such a time. It’s best to workout energetically in the morning, or at lunchtime.

Why exercise can help you sleep

Exercising can be beneficial for you if you are experiencing sleep problems, as it will help balance your internal body clock, also known as your circadian rhythm. When your body clock is set correctly it will inform your system to provide you with energy during the day, and wind down in the evening so that you can sleep soundly at night. Exercising too late in the day, or not at all, can send the wrong signal to your body clock and make it incompatible with your needs.

Gentle stretching before bedtime

There are several great yoga exercises that are said to help reduce sleep problems, including the “cobbler’s pose”, the “child’s pose” and the “legs up the wall pose”. In addition, deep belly breathing and meditation can help you relax in readiness for sleep.

Tai chi is another useful form of mindful exercise that can help with sleep difficulties, as it can reduce drowsiness during the day and help create a balance between the energy of your mind and body.

If you don’t usually sleep well, it’s likely that you don’t feel like exercising, as you don’t have much energy. However, slowly building up an exercise routine can help you gain energy, balance your body clock, and inform your system when to begin to relax in the evening.

References: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/yoga-postures-to-beat-insomnia/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201210/yoga-can-help-insomnia
http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips
http://insomnianaturalsleep.com/the-effects-of-how-exercise-helps-sleep/
http://www.aarp.org/personal-growth/life-long-learning/info-10-2008/tai_chi_helps_sleep.html

About bridget

bridget webber

Bridget Webber’s background rests in mental health, counselling, hypnotherapy, NLP and art. She brings knowledge from her experiences into her writing and specializes in emotional wellness and the creation of, rather than search for, joy. You can catch up with her insights and musings on Twitter.

Twitter: @InsightManager

3 Reactions

  1. Michelle

    I am a person that likes to exercise so it’s good to know that it is helpful in more than one way. Tanks!

    • jroy

      Thank you everyone! We are glad to know that you guys appreciate the article!