Exercises that will help you sleep better

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Exercises that will help you sleep better

A good night’s sleep can do wonders to our brain and nervous system. It promotes clarity and focus in our thinking. You will feel more alert and awake and less drowsy during the day. Thus, good sleep increases our productivity and makes us feel happier! The quality of sleep is a crucial factor in enriching the quality of our life, yet many claim they are not sleeping well at night. The reasons for not being able to sleep well might include stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalances and many more like asthma and high blood pressure.

Did you know, one sure-shot way to sleep better is to exercise regularly?  If you spend some time during the day exercising your body, you will be able to sleep better. According to a new research on sleep, those who exercise regularly are more likely to sleep better. Exercising for 150 minutes a week, including moderate to vigorous physical activity, results in a 65 % improvement in sleep quality.

According to a researcher Brad Cardinal, Professor of Exercise on Sleep Science,:"Physical activity may not just be good for the waistline and heart, but it also can help you sleep." According to a study, after 4 to 24 weeks of exercising adults who had chronic insomnia found that their sleep has become deeper and for a longer duration than before they started exercising.

Cardiovascular exercises that can help you sleep better are-

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Bicycling
  • Swimming
  • Dancing like Aerobics, Zumba etc

The simple exercises mentioned above can help you rest better afterwards. You should take some time off and go for a walk or a jog in the morning or evening. Remember to exercise, 5-6 hours before you sleep. Bicycling and swimming are also excellent for your overall health and a good sleep. You can take up a form of dancing like aerobics, Zumba etc. You can exercise in any way you wish but you must continue your exercise routine every day, that’s crucial. You may work towards including more physical activity in your daily routine too. For instance, you can use the staircase instead of the elevator, walk or bicycle to nearby places etc.

Cardiovascular exercise increases the amount of oxygen that reaches your blood.  Exercise also causes an increase in body temperature and then the post-exercise drop in body temperature may help you sleep (Horne and Staff, 1983). Exercising also reduces anxiety and depressive symptoms that are found in patients of sleep apnea and chronic insomnia.

After cardiovascular exercises, doing Yoga, Pranayama and meditation greatly helps in relaxing and reducing stress. Yoga helps in calming down the thoughts in our mind, it rejuvenates our nervous system, increases blood circulation and makes the spine function better!

Following yoga postures can lead you to a deeper, invigorating sleep:

  • Forward Bend (Hastapadasana)
  • Cat Stretch (Marjarasana)
  • Child pose (Shishuasana)
  • Butterfly pose (Baddhakonasana)
  • Leg-up-the-wall (Viparit Karani)
  • Corpse pose (Shavasana)

Pranayamas like the Naadi shodhan pranayama and the Bhramri can help too.  Bhramri Pranayama also helps with the problem of snoring that is found in the patients of sleep apnea. Meditation has numerous benefits. Some of them being helping us relax, and reducing the unnecessary thoughts in our mind. After meals, you can give a rest to your whole system by lying down in Shavasana(corpse-pose) and doing the Yoga Nidra.

It is more beneficial if you learn Yoga from a good, learned and recognized teacher. Hence we recommend the same and also encourage you to practice Yoga in a group.

You should eat your dinner 2-3 hours before going to sleep. Also, it is better if you have easy to digest food since an overloaded stomach may also prevent you from having a sound sleep.

Thinking too much, complaining about your life are some other factors that may affect the quality of your sleep.  So learn to be happy and grateful, come what may and see the difference!

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