Diet, stress management, blue light – we all know these are factors impacting our quality shut eye. But what about exercise? In terms of stress relief, weight management and endorphin release, your daily exercise – or lack of – can evidently inhibit your sleep quality.
Note - Daily exercise though? YES. Why? Because you want NIGHTLY quality sleep. Just don't SLAM yourself every day. Smashed the gym yesterday? Go for a light walk the next. Be sensible and listen to your body!
And before you ask - yes, I do have exercises / routines that I, as a qualified Personal Trainer, recommend! Body weight only (mostly), modifiable and therefore suited to any fitness level, they can be done anywhere, anytime. Want them? Sure! They are part of my 21 Day Sleep Tip Series. Sign up HERE. Note they are part 8 - which means you'll get it quite late in the series, but there's so much goodness inside you probably won't notice. But if you're DYING for them right now, let me know via email - email@example.com and i'll send them straight to your inbox asap.
- Exercise aids weight management, helping avoid excess – a meta-analysis of 17 studies involving 204,507 individuals showed a bi-directional link between obesity and sleep problems.
- Morning exercise stimulates the production of cortisol; inhibiting melatonin, the hormone which makes you sleepy. Further, it facilitates the ideal cycle of the circadian rhythm so by the evening, your cortisol levels are falling, helping you fall asleep faster too
- On the topic of morning exercise, those who do not exercise in the morning are more likely to gain an energy boost from caffeine and sugar; which firstly creates havoc for the adrenal system; and secondly, can contribute to weight gain and excessive stimulation; both of which can contribute to exhaustion
- Exercise helps stabilise blood sugar levels; a meta-analysis of six studies found that insulin sensitivity improves after 40 minutes of high intensity exercise; or 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. As a result, you’re less likely to reach for that 3pm chocolate bar or post dinner Messina.
- Exercise helps regulate how reactive you are to stress: the HPA axis, which sends out a large or small ‘alarm’ upon the encounter of stress; is modulated by exercise; in that those who are more engaged and consistent with fitness, particularly calming styles such as yoga, are less likely to react strongly when under stress.
- Stress relief and exercise are synonymous: exercise provides a healthy method of releasing stress. Subsequently, you’re less likely to depend on other measures, such as alcohol and drugs
- Endorphins serotonin and dopamine released via the process of exercise improve your mood, which also encourage you to behave in healthier, rather than harmful ways. Consider over the weekend, if you start your morning with a killer workout or amazing run, how likely are you to head straight for a bottle of wine during lunch; verses if you begin the day with lunch itself? Right.
Need help sleeping? Sign up for my FREE 21 Days of Sleep Tips Series, highlighting a sample of the physiological, psychological and environmental changes you can make to improve your sleep tonight, and energy levels tomorrow. Or, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about my bespoke online program, The Sleep Solution, and how it can transform your sleep, and restore you to your best self - inside and out.