From longer life to increased heart health to overall well being, when it comes to exercising there’s simply no end to the benefits for our bodies. While exercise might seem like a great way to get in shape and start out the day right, it can also be one of the more effective ways of getting a great night’s sleep. In fact, recent studies show that when it comes to treating insomnia, getting steady exercise is one of the best cures out there. It doesn’t have to be high-impact exercise, either. Even individuals who practice less strenuous forms of stretching and exercise like yoga are likely to feel the benefits at night. Here are just a few reasons why you should incorporate exercise into your day for a better night’s sleep:

 

It Helps with Body Temperature

The effects of exercise are long-term and can manifest in many different ways. One of the most helpful things exercise can do for our bodies is to raise our temperature slightly and then lower it some hours later, creating a natural feeling of sleepiness. For people who struggle with falling asleep at night, just a half hour workout a day could be enough to bring about the effect, helping with overall relaxation and achieving a deeper REM sleep. This doesn’t mean you have to time your exercise perfectly to make sure the sleepiness hits you before bed. Doing a more intense cardio workout earlier in the day and following up with a few relaxing stretches at night can be just as effective.

 

It Can Aid Depression

For individuals who suffer from depression-related insomnia and interrupted sleep, a steady course of exercise could be just the thing to help. Physical activity helps release endorphins and the hormone dopamine, leading to an often euphoric feeling after a workout. It also helps with a variety of other ailments leading to depression, like anxiety, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea. When sleep quality is better, it leads to improved brain performance during the day. For depressed individuals, overall health can make a huge difference in terms of their ability to function. When individuals are able to sleep without interruption, they’re more able to process trauma and feel equipped to take on the day when they wake.

 

It Encourages Heart Health

When it comes to individuals who suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, getting enough sleep can be crucial to overall health. While exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy body, it’s also important to give the body time to heal in the process. Using exercise as a way to reset your natural sleep/wake cycle (preferably by spending some time doing stretches outdoors in the morning) is a great way to help circulation throughout the day and lead to a deeper, continuous periods of reparative sleep at night. More vigorous exercise can even help individuals sleep up to 45 minutes longer per night. When it comes to your reparative sleep cycle, even an extra half an hour can make a world of difference.

 

It Helps You Relax

Perhaps most importantly, exercise helps our bodies wind down at the end of a long day. Whether you’re someone who enjoys a course of stretching before bed, a nighttime jog, or a meditative yoga session, setting aside some time to help your body process the stress of the day will make it easier to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer. Especially today, when technology constantly demands our attention in the hours before bed, taking the time to be present in your body can make a huge difference when it comes to preparing for sleep.

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