When you’re stuck in your fourth (fifth? Five hundredth?) lockdown, the motivation to exercise may be relatively low – especially when it gets dark at about 4pm! But one thing we do know about exercise is that it is one of the best ways to help with the quality of your sleep.
If you find you’re feeling restless or waking up often throughout the night this year, or simply have trouble falling asleep, try incorporating exercise into your lifestyle to help you drift off later that night.
Now, this doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym every day or running a marathon, but small little changes can have a huge impact on your quality of sleep. So take a few weeks to tweak your habits with our top tips, and track your sleep each night to see if your lifestyle changes are adding up to more Zzzs!
- Cardio is key for sleep quality. If you want to sleep more soundly, moderate aerobic exercise can help you fall asleep faster, improve sleep efficiency and sleep quality, and also make you feel more rested in the morning.
- It’s all about timing. Avoid intense exercise two hours before bedtime to get the best night’s rest. A drop in body temperature is an important cue for sleep, so counteracting this process with exercise may keep you awake. Try waking up early – see the routine of our Sleep Expert!
- Keep your workouts varied in order to reap the biggest benefit from sleep. It’s important to cover the three main types of exercise –cardiovascular, resistance (strength) and flexibility (yoga or similar).
- Less stress equals better quality sleep. If you often find yourself heading to bed with the weight of the world on your shoulders, make sure you are hitting your steps. 10,000 steps a day or more can vastly decrease stress factors and allow your mind to wind down. Pretty much all forms of exercise should help ease the day’s stresses and strains but many find walking to be the perfect stress reliever.
- Drink lots of water before, during and after exercise!
These tips will not only help you sleep better but also improve your athletic performance. This is because sleep can help performance and provides you with more energy for exercise, while a sufficient exercise routine contributes to a healthy sleep pattern.