Insomnia is when you have trouble falling or remaining asleep throughout the night. Most adults have experienced insomnia or sleeplessness at one time or another in their lives. It has been known to happen due to several factors, predominantly from stress, anxiety, depression, eating habits, medication, caffeine or even tobacco consumption.
Due to the extensive list of potential factors that can contribute to developing insomnia it is hard to pin point the exact cause for each individual, this is why sleeping pills have become such a hot commodity grossing over 2 billion dollars in sales (2004).
But instead of spending hundreds of dollars a year on medication to help you sleep, wouldn’t you rather a natural, drug free approach to cure your sleepless nights?
Exercise has been shown to help improve sleepless nights, one of the reasons scientists say is because it causes your body temperature to rise and then fall steadily. This drop in body temperature makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep; exercise also helps alleviate feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, which are also factors that contribute towards insomnia.
Although exercise has been shown to help improve quality of sleep, its all dependent on the type and the time of day you choose to exercise. Studies have shown that 20 minutes of aerobic exercises such as walking, or running is the best form of exercise to engage in to promote a full nights sleep.
If you are unable to participate in cardiovascular activities due to injury or illness, you do have an avenue you can explore; strength training, stretching and yoga, have also been shown to be beneficial to improving sleep patterns but the benefits they produce aren’t as great as aerobic training.
Due to the positive effect that the drop in body temperature has on your sleep, studies suggest that the best time to exercise is 6 hours before you lay down to rest, exercising vigorously right before bed or within about three hours of your bedtime can actually make it harder to fall asleep as it simulates your heart, brain and muscles.
If you are more of a morning person exercising as you wake up can also relieve stress and improve mood, which indirectly improves sleeping habits. Studies also show that to experience the best results you should exercise outside, being exposed to natural light in the morning, whether you’re exercising or not, can improve your sleep at night by reinforcing your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Whatever the form of exercise you decide to take up to help improve your sleep, consistency is key, the longer you stick with exercising the longer the benefits will last.
Remember if you do not currently exercise the effects may take a while to take place, studies have reported to show no improvements for 16 weeks and others a lot shorter, but do not get disheartened as exercising brings so many other benefits to your quality of life. You will feel a lot more energetic, your mood will be improved and not to mention all the health benefits exercising regularly gives you.
Become the face of fitness you’ve always wanted with no more sleepless nights.
Fitness professional, studied health and fitness for a large portion of my life , even completed my degree in Sports Science. I am currently based in Barbados and just wanted a platform to be able to share and involve anyone who is interested in health and fitness and might not know where to go or how to begin.