Sleep and exercise share an important connection that’s worth working on, especially if you are in the habit of staying up late at night. CNN report that one third of Americans suffer from insomnia, which amounts to 108 million people. In the same report, sleep expert Shaw Youngstedt highlights that exercise works significantly better than sleep-inducing medication: “Sleeping pills are extremely hazardous. They are as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.” On the other hand, Youngstedt reiterates that following an exercise routine is not only cost-effective, but may slash the risk of developing insomnia.
A cardio workout is one of the best types of exercise for sleep. From a set of bodyweight exercises to going for an outdoor run, your cardio workout options are numerous. Apart from the fact that most cardio exercises do not require any equipment, you can opt to allot just 30 minutes of your time and still reap the full benefits. Home Gym Heaven underscores that this quick daily routine can slash down daytime sleepiness, which will make it easier for you to slip into deep sleep later at night. Moreover, you get rid of leg cramps that may occur during the night.
Additionally, the American Heart Association explains that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week can also improve your cardiovascular health. With your heart adequately circulating blood to your body’s systems, you improve the chances of better sleep. In a study reported on by Prevention.com, achieving better shuteye can be realized by sticking to 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week. The results: 65 percent of the subject reported improvement in sleep quality. Also, 45 percent of the study’s subjects had less difficulty concentrating even when they were tired.
Clinical practitioner and Kings College London’s professor Paul Gringras, M.D. told Leesa how exercise can improve different facets of your health and wellness: “Working out helps with stress levels, lowers blood pressure, improves moods, and yes, will also help you sleep better. Think of it as a free medicine that works at every age: Research shows that exercise can help almost anyone, from young children to older adults who haven’t exercised in years.”
Before you hop on your 30-minute daily workout, Gringas advises that documenting your sleep is imperative. Do this by keeping a journal where you can log and rate the quality of sleep you had the night before. This will show you what your regular sleep problems are, and allow you to adjust your habits accordingly.
It’s clear that just 30-minutes of cardio can positively contribute to the quality and quantity of sleep. To unlock these benefits, we should all be able to find that short window of time to not only avoid a sedentary lifestyle but also make the most of the hours we are asleep.