If you think exercise is going to hinder rather than help you sleep then you’re (partly) wrong. Agreed, too much exercise and the poor timing of said exercise can definitely interrupt your sleeping pattern but Luke Hughes, PT at Origym, shares how to exercise to actually benefit your sleep and encourage a better, more restful night (including some sleep tips you might not have tried!).
Luke says “Getting a good night’s sleep is an overlooked priority of many gym goers, but we’re here to tell you that it shouldn’t be. Sleep is an essential part of mental and physical recovery so it’s important we’re doing our best to get an adequate amount each day. Lifestyle choices can affect our sleep quality and leave us feeling groggy and unmotivated, but simple tweaks to our evening routine can make a massive difference. Not only will sleep improve your performance and enable you to hit your goals, but it will also aid the muscle recovery and growth you’ve been waiting for.”
1. Hit the gym in the morning
Participating in cardiovascular exercise like running or an aerobics class in the morning can have various benefits for your overall sleep schedule.
When we take part in moderate to vigorous exercise our body releases endorphins which set us up for the day leaving us feeling more fulfilled come bedtime, this will help stimulate sleep.
Regular morning exercise also improves sleep rhythms and tells the body to produce the hormone melatonin earlier in the evening. This is why we often fall asleep quicker and more naturally when we’ve been up and active early in the morning.
2. Stretch your body before you go to bed
The importance of stretching can often be overlooked, but regular stretching can have a positive impact on the body and mind. Aching muscles can cause discomfort and keep us awake at night, adding stretches into your nighttime routine will keep this pain at bay.
Not only that, but stretching can also improve blood flow, muscle tension and help the body fall into a state of relaxation. The more we can get our body and mind to relax before sleep, the more effective and efficient our state of rest will be.
3. Add yoga to your evening routine
Yoga combines stretching and mindfulness to create a state of relaxation that can ultimately reduce any stress you’re feeling. Most yoga instructors will agree that spiritual-based discipline helps improve sleep, especially when it’s routinely practised.
Incorporating yoga into your evening routine two to three times per week could be beneficial in promoting good sleeping habits by reducing our stress levels. Why not look for an evening yoga class near you, or see if you can find an online instructor?
4. Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique in bed
The 4-7-8 breathing method is used primarily to reduce anxiety and help us sleep. Simply breathe in through the nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and then breathe out through your mouth for eight seconds, you can then repeat this breathing pattern a maximum of four times.
This type of deep, rhythmic breathing has been known to relax the body and mind, easing people into sleep. It’s best to do this technique when you’re in bed and ready to drift off.
5. Get laid
When we have sex our body responds by releasing oxytocin and endorphins, these are feel-good hormones that activate the brain’s pleasure centres and create feelings of relaxation.
Cortisol is the hormone that stimulates alertness and excitement in the brain, after we’ve orgasmed the cortisol in our body decreases. The mix of more oxytocin, and endorphins paired with reduced cortisol can be just what’s needed to rock us to sleep!
Blended with Lavender to ease anxiety and aid relaxation and Marjoram to release tension and calm nerves, Bamford’s vegan and nut-free pillow mist is every bit as luxurious as it is effective. If you prefer a more subtle scent, this is definitely the best one to choose.
For a restorative night’s sleep that packs a beauty punch, try Balance Me’s Beauty Sleep Hyaluronic Mist. Let the hyaluronic plump and hydrate your skin while you sleep for a dewy “I woke up like this” complexion the next morning.
A cult product for good reason, thisworks Sleep Plus Pillow Spray has helped many people get the slumber they so desperately deserve. Thanks to motion-activated technology, Lavender and Chamomile are released continuously throughout the night to support a longer, less interrupted sleep.
Gym bunnies will love BetterYou’s Magnesium Sleep Body Spray for its ability to relax tired muscles and restless legs. Massage into sore muscles after a hot bath or shower and let the magnesium work its magic overnight.
A dreamy combination of calming rose and relaxing essential oils, the scent alone is enough to soothe you to sleep. With base notes of geranium and chamomile, this will help ease tension and stress so you can wake up feeling refreshed.
A delicate blend of frankincense, hops and lavender, REN’s & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray is designed to help relax the mind and body. This is a great one to choose if your internal chatter keeps you awake at night.