We all know that we need our beauty sleep. A good night’s sleep helps release healthy hormones, such as growth hormone, which allows our body to repair itself from daily damage. We feel happier, look better, and have more energy. We are more likely to hit our weight loss goals and it’s easier to resist temptation when someone brings in tasty treats to work. In fact, a University of Chicago study found that well-rest study participants lost as much as 55% more fat than sleep deprived participants.
Regular physical activity and exercise can improve our sleep quality drastically and help us achieve good “sleep hygiene”. Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe our sleeping habits. Bad sleep hygiene includes things like sleeping in a bright and noisy room, using electronics right before bed, and varying our bed times daily. The good news is that a little goes a long way! Just 10 minutes of exercise can improve your sleep quality and your sleep duration. Basically you can sleep better for a longer period of time. Research has shown that exercising in the early morning or early afternoon can help reset your sleep/wake schedule. I’m sure you’ve experienced dragging yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn but as soon as you start your morning walk or run you feel great! When you exercise your body temperature rises but the subsequent cool down can help signal that it’s bed time and leave you feeling sleepy. Sometimes it can take as long as 6 hours for the body to start to cool down. This is why a hot bath before bed can help you unwind.
A lot of people say you shouldn’t exercise intensely late at night because it helps rev you up when your body needs to start calming down. This is actually very individualized, some people are able to do the late workout and still catch some zzz’s.
Tips to Improve Your Sleep
- How does your exercise routine change your sleep patterns? You might find one type of exercise is okay late at night but another isn’t. Stay in touch with your body so you can make exercise work for you.
- Turn off the electronics. Blue light from your phone, computer, tablet, etc. Signal your body that it’s wake up time. Try going for a walk outside instead of on the treadmill or read a hard copy book instead of perusing the Internet.
- Establish a routine. Varying your bed time or wake up time by just 20-30 minutes can drastically change your sleep patterns and make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
by Lauren @beneFIT Lifestyle