For better sleep, there are two important things you need consider which are nutrition and mental health. Experts say that these two are intimately linked with sleeping better. Nutrition basically includes eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding spicy food. As for mental health, there are certain exercises you can do before going to bed to help you sleep better. However, it’s not necessarily you do them just before bedtime, doing them is what matters. From visualization routine to help calm your mind to physical movements that release tension before bed, we’re going to show you how to implement them to help you immensely. Here are the 6 workouts you should be doing for better sleep.
1. Strength Training
Strength training has many health benefits including stronger muscles, better bone health, and sculpted limbs. But, we’ve never thought of it as a solution for better sleep. It turns out that strength training can help you fall asleep faster and actually stay asleep too.
A study from the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, college students carried out strength based workouts (including exercises, such as crunches, curls and leg presses) at a moderate intensity at various times a day. Then they wore sleep trackers to bed.
The results showed that lifting weights in the morning helped subjects fall asleep about 45 minutes faster. While lifting the weights in the evening improved the quality of sleep. The reason being that resistance training warms the body internally, sort of a pre-bed bath. Interestingly, strength training somehow is soothing.
Whichever yoga move you choose to do before bed, it should be relaxing and tension releasing. Difficult poses aren’t good before bed because they tend to stress your body rather than luring it into a state of drowsiness. Do simple poses that maintain perfect posture with the ankles, hips, knees, and shoulders. For example, you can lie on your back close to the wall, push your butt even closer to the wall and lift your legs up and rest them against the wall. Let the arms lie by your sides and turn up your palms. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
Any form of stretch that opens up and releases your most stressed joints is perfect for better sleep. Focus on stretching your hips and back which happens to get tired more during the day. Do this, lie on your front and arch your back to a comfort point, and then let it stretch. Also, practice butterfly stretches.
4. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are one of the best in helping one sleep better. When doing it, you should maintain a good posture to avoid any form of strain. Lie down in bed or sit up with a straight spine then take a deep, slow and sustained breath. The breath should start from the bottom of your diaphragm, called belly breathing. Your main focus should be filling the stomach with air so that it sticks out, then allow the oxygen to expand from the bottom of your chest up toward your throat, the lungs should be the last to rise. Inhale for three counts and hold it for two. Exhale slowly for four. The aim is to exhale longer than inhaling. While doing this, you should be very relaxed and avoid any disruptions.
Most people don’t believe that aerobic exercises significantly improve sleep. Routines such as running on the treadmill or pedaling on the elliptical or simply walking can hugely benefit your sleep. One study found that vigorous to moderate activities increased sleep duration and decreased the time it took to fall asleep. This is because your body temperature increases during cardiovascular exercises. And when the body is cooling down, the temperature dips again promoting sleep.
You are advised to meditate just before bed. This way your body creates a reflex or association and recognizes this exercise as a trigger that relaxes and prepares you for bed. However, you might experience a rejuvenation after meditating making it hard for you to fall asleep. What you need to do is to avoid meditation practices that stimulate your mind and adopt the ones that help wind you down. Meditate one hour before bedtime. Ensure you’ve switched off all stimuli, dim the lights or turn them off and put any electronic device away. Now, sit with your spine straight, close your eyes, and start meditating. Sometimes it’s very helpful if you meditate with your significant other. Your body feels self-conscious when doing it and help the two of you to bond even more. Not only are exercises meant to help you lose weight or stay healthy but also they can help you sleep better. All the above routines have been approved to help one sleep better. Just try one today and see for yourself.
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