When it comes to exercise, sleep experts are all on the same page:
Just do it.
Regular, moderate exercise has proven highly effective not only in helping people lead a healthier lifestyle, but also in helping them get a better night's sleep.
If exercise isn't a part of your regular routine, or if you want to make sure that you're doing the right moves at the right time, here are four essential tips for exercising your way to a better night's sleep.
- Timing matters. Generally, try to finish your moderate workout by the early evening hours, to give your muscles and circulatory system time to calm down and prepare for sleep. Schedule your exercise to conclude at least three hours before bedtime.
- Push yourself just a little. Moderate aerobic exercise should be done for at least 20 to 30 minutes to reap the biggest benefits for your sleep. Examples of moderate forms of exercise include: jogging, swimming, scrubbing floors, riding a bicycle, jumping rope, washing your car, brisk walking, using a treadmill or stationary bike.
- Go light at night. Mild, non-aerobic activity can help you relax at the end of the day, and cue your body that it's time to sleep. Examples of mild exercises are: yoga, stretching, walking at a relaxed pace, breathing deeply, relaxation exercises. These light forms of exercise are ideal for end-of-day physical activity.
- Keep going! Getting into the habit of exercise will improve sleep habits over time. Some research suggests that the full sleep-related benefits of exercise accrue gradually. For your health and your sleep, find an exercise routine you can live with and stick with it for the long term.