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How exercise can give you a better night’s sleep

In the height of summer, it can sometimes feel impossible to get a good night’s sleep.

It can also be difficult to fit into your regular exercise routine as your diary is increasingly filled with social interactions, and trips to the park or pub park seem more inviting than the gym.

However, the two are related to each other, and exercise can be the key to a good night’s rest.

How can exercise affect sleep?

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“Moderate aerobic exercise increases our slow wave or ‘deep sleep,’ which is when the brain and body are able to recover and revitalize,” explains Dr. Sarah Davis, MD, consultant in muscle, sports and exercise medicine at the Institute of Sports, Exercise and Health. ISEH), in partnership with HCA Healthcare UK.

“Exercises also help calm your mood and calm the mind, preparing you for restful, restful sleep.”

Hayden Elliott, coach and co-owner F45 SohoAnd the oxford circus And the High Street Kensingtonconsistent with the idea of ​​exercise for the mind.

“Exercise can calm anxiety and depression, help the mind relax and enable a good night’s rest,” he says.

While Dr. Hajar Al Habti, GP in King Edward VII HospitalThe most important reason is that exercise can prevent conditions that can cause insomnia, thus giving you a better night’s sleep.

“Different illnesses and ailments such as obesity, depression, and pain, to name a few, can make people sleep less, but exercising regularly and staying fit can relieve symptoms in some cases,” she says.

You might think that exercising will make you more tired during the day, but Al Habti explains, “Dieting and exercising can combat daytime drowsiness and fatigue, and increase your energy levels, which means you’ll be more tired at bedtime, and leave more quickly— Which in turn leads to better sleep quality.”

What type of training should you do?

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Exercising outdoors can give you a good night’s rest (Alamy/PA)

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ exercise recipe for sleep hygiene,” Davies says. “Listen to your body and remember to warm up and cool down before and after exercise, to avoid a buildup of metabolites that may keep you awake at night” — and check with your doctor if you have any questions.

If anxiety is keeping you up at night, you can focus your exercise regimen on addressing that. “Aerobic exercises that increase heart rate and breathing, such as brisk walking, running, or cycling, can make sleep easier by lowering blood pressure and reducing anxiety,” Al Habti says.

And if you really want to get a good night’s sleep, she recommends exercising outdoors. [This] It can enhance the body’s circadian rhythm [and] Exposure to daylight for a walk or exercise can help keep you alert during the day, and as the sun goes down it can cause the body to produce melatonin, which is what makes us sleepy.”

Is the time of day important?

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Everyone is different, and Al Habti says what works for you may depend on whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, as well as any underlying health conditions.

“It is recommended that you stop exercising at least 90 minutes before bedtime, as this allows endorphin levels and core body temperature to return to appropriate levels for sleep,” she adds.

If you can only do evening exercise and find yourself getting super excited after something like HIIT, says Elliott: “There are so many different types of exercise you can try, from stretching to resistance to cardio. If it’s a huge mistake, you may find that they actually help you sleep because you’re burned out. All your energy from today.”

What mistakes should be avoided when it comes to exercise and sleep?

woman sleeping in bed
Caffeinated drinks before bed may disrupt your sleep (Alamy/PA)

“If you choose to work out later in the day, you should think about how you can fuel yourself before and after your workout,” Elliott says. “Choosing caffeinated drinks to keep up your energy for evening workouts is great, until you’re trying to sleep that night.”

When it comes to exercise, a lot of it is trial and error, figuring out what works for you — and adjusting accordingly. For example, Al Habti says, “If you are constantly waking up during the night, strenuous exercise in the early evening may be raising your core body temperature too much, and thus affecting the quality of your sleep.

“With this in mind, resistance exercise, light aerobic exercise, or yoga may be your best bet, as you get the benefits of your exercise — without raising your body temperature too much.”

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