Weight Loss Day 53
Sleep and Exercise
There are more benefits to exercise and movement than just your weight and fitness levels.
Getting as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise in a day, such as walking or cycling, can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep, especially when done on a regular basis. Even this amount of exercise may reduce your risk of developing troublesome sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome.
Why does exercise help you sleep better?
Physical activity in general will help improve both your sleep quality and increase your sleep duration. Exercise can also be a great remedy for clearing your head and reducing some of the little stressors, and of course it naturally tires you out.
By exercising early morning as well as in the afternoon, you may even be able to reset your sleep wake cycle if it’s a bit out of whack. This works by raising your body temperature slightly, then allowing it to drop and trigger sleepiness a few hours later. It can be especially helpful if you are able to exercise outdoors and let your body absorb natural sunlight during the daytime hours. A bit of healthy sun and vitamin D can often go a long way.
Timing It Right
Once upon a time it was thought that working out vigorously too close to bedtime was a no-no for everyone, because it may over-stimulate the body. But that’s certainly not the case for everyone, and it’s not the case for all forms of exercise. Like with most areas of our health, a lot depends on the individual. Most research shows that short burst interval training, and not at a full 100% can have the best outcome for sleep post exercise. The rationale is that you are training in a way that promotes quick recovery times, helping your heart rate settle appropriately prior to sleep.
Long sustained endurance training is seen as less optimal prior to sleep.
Bottom line is, what does it do for you? If you find that physical activity in the evening revs you up too much, then do it earlier in the day. But if you find exercising later in the day helps promote good sleep for you, then don’t be afraid to do it at the time that works best for you.
Underpinning all of this, is the central theme of sleep. Making decisions about how the other things we do will affect the way we sleep. Sleep is the central theme. Should I eat or drink this now? mmmm what will that do to my sleep. Should I lay on the couch another hour watching the TV? mmmm how will that affect the quality of my sleep. Should I try and stretch or exercise later in the day? mmmmm how will that affect my sleep?
All great thoughts and questions to be asking yourself, to really help embed the importance of sleep in your mind.
Sweet dreams ;-)
Our sleep-wake cycle is an essential circadian rhythm that serves as the foundation for our daily well-being. The sleep-wake cycle is approximately 24 hours. However, for most people, their natural cycle is shorter or longer than 24 hours. Here are 4 tips to help maintain a regular and robust circadian sleep-wake rhythm.
- Help your body synchronize to a regular 24-hour cycle by maintaining regular bed and wake times. Minimizing fluctuations of bed and wake times to less than half an hour (even on weekends!) allows your body to naturally anticipate and prepare for wake and sleep.
- Maximize the difference between the peak (daytime alertness) and trough (sleep) of your day. Resist the impulse to nap or stay inactive during the day. Instead, maximize your activity during the day through exercise, outdoor activities, and by limiting daytime napping.
- Synchronize your body’s master clock to external environmental cues by limiting light exposure at night and obtaining bright outdoor light exposure earlier in the day.
- Be mindful of rhythm “disrupters” that can delay your natural sleep-wake inclinations. Avoid heavy or spicy meals close to bedtime and limit caffeine to earlier in the day. Monitor the effects of stimulating activities such as exercise, media, or work in the hours before bed. If you find increased physical or mental arousal associated with these activities, move them to your active/alert portion of the day.
In the past 15 years there has been a significant increase in the consumption of energy drinks,...
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