Can exercise help you get a better night’s sleep? Absolutely! Exercise helps to not only improve our physical condition, but also relieves tension and stress – often the number one cause of poor sleeping habits. Difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently once asleep, waking up and still feeling drowsy, irritability, impatience and even depression are symptoms of sleep deprivation. Many people experience these symptoms on various levels and never even realize they are the result of poor sleeping habits.
Good sleeping habits are critical to our physical and emotional health. Here are a few tips to help you get a restful night’s sleep:
- Make a list of “things to do” for the next day. This will help you clear your mind and allow you to relax.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine late in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine will keep you from falling asleep initially and alcohol interferes with your overall sleep quality.
- Try to avoid large meals late in the evening. Eating a big meal before bed can inhibit the quality of your sleep. Try to eat several hours before bedtime, if you really need something, have a light snack.
- Develop a sleep routine. Falling asleep and waking up at regular times enables your body to develop a rhythm for sleep and enables you to fall asleep quicker when you head hits the pillow.
Keep in mind healthy eating habits and exercise will help you get a better night’s sleep, but the time of day you exercise could also affect your quality of sleep. If possible, avoid late evening workouts. Exercise releases endorphins that stimulate your body and mind, which can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Allow at least 3 hours between workouts and bedtime.
Making sleep a priority will help you feel better, look better, and improve your overall quality of life. Please Note: Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise program.