There are few things worse than not sleeping well. Sleep is vital to our body’s ability to function optimally. How can we improve our chances of getting a good night sleep?
A lot of factors go into play when it comes to getting a good night sleep. One important consideration is how we are taking care of our bodies during our waking hours. What are we eating and drinking? Are we getting exercise or are we sitting at desks and in cars all day and coming home to watch TV on the couch in the evening?
Have you ever had a really active day and you just knew you were going to sleep well at night? Perhaps you packed and moved to a new apartment or house (that’s a lot of work), spent the day taking the kids to the zoo or Disney World, or ran a marathon. After having these kinds of out of the ordinary, high activity days, it is no surprise that you would drop onto your comfortable mattress at night and sleep like a baby from sheer exhaustion.
What about your daily lunchtime walks or trips to the gym? Are these activities sufficient to influence a good night sleep as well? A study reported by The National Sleep Foundation discovered that “150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality.
People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity”.
Another study by Northwestern University suggests that regular aerobic exercise helps people with insomnia issues. How does exercise help us sleep better? A few reasons include: our brains will compensate for the vigor we put our bodies through by day by having us sleep deeper and longer at night. Secondly, exercise also encourages sleep because it causes one's body temperature to rise and then fall by equal amount a few hours later. This drop in body temperature makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Lastly, Exercise may also help people sleep because when folks exercise outside they increase their exposure to bright light (sunlight). This bright light exposure helps to properly regulate the body-temperature rhythm which makes it easier to sleep better.
I don’t know about you, but I think this is worth a try, don’t you? How do we incorporate more activity into our already busy lives?
Here are 10 ideas:
1. Walk during your lunch hour
2. Get in the habit of parking your car as far away as you can from your office building, shopping mall, restaurant, etc.
3. Use a fitness app like Argus’ Fitness Buddy to help you discover new fitness moves and to make your fitness routine as effective as possible.
4. Make working out a habit. You would never skip brushing your teeth, would you? Whatever time of day you want to work out, just make it a part of your daily routine. Automaticity is what will get us there. No wiggle room. Just do it!
5. Volunteer to help your friend move or babysit her toddler.
6. Sign up for a walkathon that raises money for a good cause (such as the Walk to Defeat ALS).
7. Do random jumping jacks and push-ups when you are watching TV or reading.
8. Do something active with your weekend: kayak, discover a new park or nature trail to explore
9. Date night with your sweetie: dance the night away (even if it is in your jammies in your living room).
10. If you don’t work too far away from home, try biking to work.
Do you think you have moved sufficiently today? If so, that is terrific! Now finish the evening off with a delicious healthy dinner and a hot bath. Sweet Dreams. Zzzzz…..
Debra struggled with anxiety and insomnia for many years. About five years ago, she started a blog, The Warm Milk Journal, as a way to reach out to others who may be having the same struggles. The Warm Milk Journal has become a popular resource for people in need of a good night sleep and recently won Success Magazine's BlogStar award. Debra holds degrees in communications, law, and education. When she is not blogging she is a social media specialist for a large automotive group company in the Jacksonville, Florida area. When not working, you may find Debra walking on the beach or sweating it out at a nearby Bikram studio.
Main Photo Credit: Ljupco Smokovski/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: antoniodiaz/shutterstock.com