We showed in another article that exercise can help you to fall asleep at night. As long as you do your exercise at least 3 hours before you go to bed, you can start seeing the positive results for your sleep within the first week or two or exercising. This is the truth, but there is one little catch: you have to be doing the right types of exercises!
Not every exercise is going to help you fall asleep. Most exercise routines will help you, but some won’t. How can you make sure you’re doing the right thing? The last thing I want is for you to get frustrated and stop your new exercise routine. So, to that end I’ve compiled the best 10 exercises to help you sleep better.
The most important thing to remember is that consistency and perseverance matter with exercise. You won’t see results if you just take one of these exercises and do it once per week. Get into the habit of exercising 3 – 5 times per week for a minimum of 10 minutes per session, depending on what you’re doing.
With that in mind, here are some of the best exercises for your sleep.
The unbelievably simple act of walking for at least 1 mile can help you sleep better at night. If you put your mind into it and walk at least 1 mile every day, or at least 5 times per week, you should start sleeping better within a few short weeks.
You don’t have to fast walk to make this work. One mile of regular walking can be enough exercise make you sleep more easily at night. It can be even better for your health if you decide to walk for more than 1 mile, but that’s up to you.
Walking has the added benefit of stress relief. This is another way it helps you to sleep, but is also great for your overall health and wellbeing.
Taking a 15-minute bike at least 5 times a week will help you to find your way into deep sleep more quickly at night and can also improve the quality of your sleep. It’s recommended that you get in about 75 minutes of biking total per week. You can break it up as you prefer and do more if you’d like, but as long as you’re getting in the minimum amount you can except to start seeing some results in a few weeks.
If you just want to take a slow, leisurely ride than you may have to up the time every session. The point is to get your heart pumping a bit and increase your cardio strength. Biking can be a very relaxing exercise, especially during the warmer months when the weather is fantastic.
Once it gets colder you can use a home cycling exercise machine or head to the gym to use the cycles there. You can also get cold weather gear and brave the cold weather in the great outdoors!
Doing simple aerobics for at least 15 minutes, 5 times a week will get you the benefits of good sleep at night after some time. Aerobics covers a range of different exercises that will get your heart pumping and have you moving. Technically, some of the other items on this list are aerobics, but they are worth pointing out separately.
Aerobics can include anything from rowing to Zumba classes or stair climbing. Doing some basic cardio exercise throughout the week will definitely help you to sleep better at night and will make your days feel better as well.
While yoga can help to improve your overall fitness and improve your health, it can also have fantastic benefits for your sleep. Unlike the other exercises on this list, yoga focuses more on releasing physical tension, relaxing your body, and ridding your mind of stress.
A series of stretching and breathing movements are involved in every pose for your routine. You can do your yoga in the morning of in the evening after you return home from your stressful day. This is a relatively low intensity exercise, so you can do it a bit closer to bed time if you can’t fit it into your schedule any other time.
Here’s a series of suggested yoga poses that will help you sleep better at night:
Starting a routine of running each week can help you get better sleep over time. It’s not actually because you’ll feel more tired, but seems to have more to do with retuning your body’s response to stress and creating a healthier nervous system in general.
By just running for a minimum of 25-30 minutes 3 times per week you will be able to improve your sleep. A simple jogging routine is all you need for this to work. You don’t have to become a distance runner or a sprinter. You don’t even have to be particularly good at running, as long as you’re willing to stick with it and keep the habit going.
Running in the morning appears to be one of the better times to practice this exercise, as it will help you to have more energy during the remainder of the day and to feel better in the morning hours. If you wait until the evening to run, you might not be able to run as well because your energy and motivation levels will be much lower.
Strength training with weights is not an aerobic exercise, but it can still help you to sleep better at night. This has two main reasons: you will feel more exhausted after a workout day and you will be improving your entire body health. Both of these reasons work towards giving you the rest you so desperately need.
Simple strength training routines should consist of around 3 workouts per week doing a different muscle group each day. Avoid doing full-body workouts as these will not benefit your body as much over time. When you train specific muscle groups each day, you will be able to target your exercises and tire out a specific set of muscles each time. Full-body workouts spread you too thin and result in a poor workout for most of your muscles.
Similar to aerobics, anaerobic exercise takes your cardio workout a step further. You need to push yourself even harder, but do it for a shorter period of time. To have an effective anaerobic exercise you can do things like sprints, jumping with weights, and any other explosive, difficult exercise.
Exercises should be in short bursts. The point is that you won’t be able to do it for very long, because you will be increasing your heart rate to much higher than it normally sits, about 75% of its capacity.
Did you know what swimming is an aerobic exercise? This doesn’t include the type of swimming you do when you take your kids to the pool or when you go lounge at the pool with your friends. We’re talking about swimming for exercise by doing laps. Lap swimming can get your heart pumping well and works out nearly every muscle in the entire body.
Swimming should be done in a pool that forces you to tread water. If you can stand up in the pool easily than it is not ideal for you to get your exercise. Try lap swimming for at least 15 minutes, 5 times per week or separate your workouts differently for a combined total of 75 minutes per week (at LEAST). Do any basic swimming stroke you know, but avoid the doggy paddle!
I’ve added this one on the list to help all those men and women that like to mix leisure and sports realize it’s possible to exercise without having to feel like you’re working out. Golfing involves a lot of walking, carrying golf bags around, and light arm movements. Skip the golf cart and this can be a perfect way to exercise while still having a great time.
This is a fancy word for the simple use of your body weight to train your muscles. You don’t need to do aerobics for this type of exercise, nor will you need a set of home workout equipment. All you really need to do a calisthenics routine is yourself!
Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, planking, and a variety of other exercises fall under this category. You can find simple 10 minute routines to do every morning when you wake up. This should be a good way to gain the benefits of better sleep from your exercise.
Working out in a variety of ways has been shown to help you get better sleep, but it’s not an instant benefit. Sometimes you won’t be getting those extra 45 minutes of snoozing until as many as 4 months into your workout routine. However, once you get to this point you’ll really feel the difference and will never look back!
Some of the benefits of these exercises can be seen within just a few short weeks, so don’t give up if you don’t see the final results after a month or so. Give your body time to adjust and align itself with its new way of being.
How do you feel about this list? Did I miss anything that you think should be on there? Let me know below in the comments!
My name is Laurie J. Rivenbark, and I am all about making your life as good as possible. Your quality of life is just as important as how long your life is, so why not take some time to invest in improving yourself? Read more