In today’s fast-paced world, a “normal functioning” human being is expected to seamlessly juggle between responsibilities at work, at home and in their social circles. As a result, we become highly stimulated and stressed. This inevitably affects both our mental and physical health. If only there was something simple that we do every day that can help tackle our stress levels. Wait, there is, and it’s called sleep. Additionally, what if I told you that you can exercise for better sleep and you can also sleep for better exercise?
How Exercise Can Benefit Sleep:
There are many benefits to exercising regularly. These include a lower risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes, improved physical function and a higher quality of life. According to the John Hopkins Medical Centre for Sleep, exercise can help to stabilise one’s mood and decompress the mind. Exercising also improves sleep for many people. Specifically, moderate to vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing the onset of sleep (time it takes to fall asleep) and decrease the amount of time you lie awake in bed during the night. Physical activity can also help alleviate daytime sleepiness and for some people, even reduce the need for sleep medications.
Here are some workout tips that will benefit your sleep:
Tip 1: Workout at least 2 hours before bedtime
When you exercise, your body realises elevated amounts of stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones along with a spike in your metabolic rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and core body temperature, can affect your ability to fall asleep. These are the reasons why it is best not to exercise too close to bed time in order to protect your own sleep hygiene.
Tip 2: Try Restorative Stretching
Instead of breaking a sweat, try improving your flexibility! Stretching can help with reducing body pains and the combination of light movement with breathwork may help you ease your mind before bed. You can check out some stretches over here!
How Sleep can Benefit Exercise:
When it comes to exercising, understanding your workout goals and personal limits are important. But what you do outside the gym — what you eat, what you drink, and especially how you sleep, is just as crucial. In fact, you must sleep for the benefits of exercise to work. Sleep gives your body time to recover, conserve energy, and repair and build up the muscles worked during exercise. When we get enough good quality sleep, the body produces growth hormones. Here are some tips on how you can create better sleep routine and hygiene:
Tip 1: Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
A relaxing bedtime routine helps you unwind so you are ready to sleep. And keeping a consistent routine helps your body recognize that it is bedtime when you start the routine. This may help you fall asleep more quickly. Although this routine will vary for different individuals, some suggestions to add to this routine would be: gentle stretching, reading a book and listening to calming music.
Tip 2: Optimise Your Bedroom
A central component of sleep hygiene beyond just habits is your sleep environment. To fall asleep more easily, you want your bedroom to emanate tranquillity. While what makes a bedroom inviting can vary between individuals, these items may help make it calmer and freer of disruptions:
o Have a Comfortable Mattress and Pillow
o Block Out Light
o Try Calming Scents
o Drown Out Noise
o Set a Cool Yet Comfortable Temperature
In conclusion, both sleep and exercise are fundamentally crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle which subsequently helps us deal with stress and improves our overall wellbeing. Here at Actxa Wellness, we strongly advocate for rest and physical activity habits. If you want to know more about how we can help you elevate your wellbeing, contact us on any of our platforms!
About the Author:
Jun Quan has always been in the business of health and wellness. By day, he works with Actxa Wellness as the wellbeing co-lead. By night, he is a tennis coach & avid climber in hopes that he can someday merge his sporting and exercise knowledge with the wellness community.