Exercise and Sleep
Exercise may be the key to achieving the uninterrupted sleep your mind and body dream about. Studies have shown that regular physical activity not only helps you sleep sounder and longer, but also can make you feel more awake and engaged during the day. The following suggestions may help turn your active day into a restful night:
If It Feels Good Do It
One of the best activities to promote good sleep is a cardiovascular workout that keeps your heart rate up and your muscles pumping continuously for at least 20 minutes. Running, swimming, cycling, or dancing are all popular cardio workouts that can be both fun and effective. And while there are plenty of options to choose from, make equally sure that you pick an exercise schedule that works for you.
Picking the Right Time for Exercise
Vigorous physical activity within two hours of your bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep. Exercise stimulates your heart, brain, and muscles, and it raises your body temperature—and these reactions can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Schedule your exercise earlier in the day when it will provide the greatest benefit without interfering with a good night’s rest.
Sports are a fun way to stay in shape, and help people of all ages maintain and improve the health of their lungs and heart. The health benefits of playing sports also extends beyond cardiorespiratory, and also may help to release stress and tension which can contribute to a bad night’s sleep. Unfortunately, if you get hurt or sidelined due to an injury, pain and inflammation can keep you from sleeping.
If pain from a sports or exercise injury is keeping you awake at night, there are a number of treatments available depending on the severity of the injury. Physical therapy may be an option in more severe cases and a doctor should be consulted, in other cases, try a non-prescription pain relief product that helps you sleep. Consider tracking your sleep habits in a sleep journal if pain persists, as this simple tool can record valuable information about your quality of sleep and how many hours you log each night.