Exercise and Sleep
A Natural Insomnia Cure
Exercise - you've come to know the benefits for weight loss and
increasing energy. But did you know that exercise can help your sleep?
Studies have shown that people, particularly women, who exercise regularly, sleep not only longer
but better. So go for a run, ride a bike, swim, take a trip to the gym, take in a pilates class or spin class. Stay
away from any form of over the counter or prescription sleeping pills.
Why do people have trouble sleeping? One of the main culprits is stress. The worst part is that
sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels, which makes you feel even more stressed. It leaves you feeling on edge
and incapable of dealing with stressful situations as they arise.
Most insomniacs experience increased levels of stress hormones. While it is
true that exercise increases these levels, this state is only temporary and, in fact, these hormone levels will
fall after several hours. The great news is that these hormone levels fall to lower than before you exercised and
lower than if you hadn't worked out at all. End the sleep-stress cycle once and for all by including regular
aerobic exercise in your daily regimen.
Have you ever gone to bed and your mind won't stop racing? The built-up stress from your day
precludes you from settling into a relaxed state. Exercise is an escape from the stressors that surround you and
helps you think more clearly and sort through the challenges that face you. Figuring out a solution to a problem
while exercising frees your mind of its burden, allowing you to sleep better at night.
Exercising also makes you want to sleep more. As your muscles work, they need
to repair and regenerate themselves. They do this through sleep. The result is a deeper, more restful sleep. You'll
sleep better and awake with rest and energy in the morning.
Timing is a very important element in using exercise to alleviate insomnia. Exercise produces
chemicals in the body, particularly the brain, that make you feel more alert, focused and energized. So it is
crucial to exercise well in advance of sleep. But how far in advance?
Generally, you should leave at least 4 hours between the end of your exercise
and bedtime. Everyone is different so you'll need to experiment. If you find that four hours is not enough,
gradually increase the time between exercise and sleep until you find the timing that is right for you. As you
may have gathered, the ideal is to exercise in the morning, but not all of us are able to do so. Another good
time is immediately following your work day, before you get home for the evening. This way, once you walk in
the door, you can settle down and relax before bedtime.
While exercise helps you sleep more, it has other wonderful benefits. Exercise helps you lose
weight, feel great, and have more energy throughout the day (and so will sleep).
In addition to exercise, other natural
methods of helping you sleep include natural herbs and supplements. These include, among others: kava kava,
valerian, St. Johns Wort, passion flower, chamomile, melatonin (30 minutes before bedtime), Primorye®, and homeopathic hgh (human
With all these tools at your disposal and a daily exercise routine you will stick to, you can now
enjoy a good night's sleep each and every night...zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...