When it comes to your sleep quality, some exercises can help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer and get a better night’s sleep. You do not want to exercise strenuously right before bedtime because it will increase your heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure and spike your adrenaline, all of which stimulate your sympathetic nervous system.
Strenuous exercise increases the body’s core temperature, much like taking a hot shower to wake up in the morning. It then takes half an hour to an hour and a half for your temperature to drop back down again, so you feel sleepy enough to nod off. While strenuous aerobic exercise releases your body’s endorphins – those handy brain chemicals that boost your mood – they also keep you awake when you are trying to fall asleep. You can avoid this by exercising a couple of hours before your normal bedtime.
Exercise For Best Sleep
Doing gentle stretching exercises like yoga can calm the body and quiet the mind for better quality sleep. When you inhale, you will want to take slow, deep breaths from your abdomen and focus on your exhale to trigger your relaxation response. Moderate aerobic exercise raises your slow-wave sleep (or deep sleep), allowing your body and brain to get the rest it needs. Exercise, in general, stabilizes your mood and quiets the mind, so you drift off to sleep more easily. Achieving deep sleep is vital as this is the time when your heart, mind, and immune system quietly repair themselves.
Getting 150 minutes of exercise a week will help reduce daytime sleepiness. It also helps you fall asleep earlier (and for longer), so you get optimal sleep quality. You do not want to lie awake staring at the ceiling half the night because your mind is too preoccupied to count those elusive sheep. Less worry and less stress mean better sleep! Exercise lowers your adrenaline and cortisol levels (your body’s stress hormones). Just make sure you exercise early enough in the day.
How Sleep Apnea Disrupts Your Sleep Cycle
The most common sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea which also seriously impacts your sleep quality. OSA involves blockage in your airway so that you can’t breathe in your sleep. It means you wake up gasping for air throughout the night just to end up with a poor night’s sleep. You might not even awaken as breathing pauses happen, but your sleep quality can still be impaired. Losing weight can often help relieve sleep apnea, and exercise can help you do that! Losing weight helps those struggling with OSA by decreasing the pressure on the neck and throat.
Exercise for Sleep
Achieving 150 minutes of exercise a week is easy in the summertime! You can increase your heart rate and build muscle by walking briskly or jogging around your neighborhood, hiking those flourishing trails, and swimming in your community pool, lake, or ocean. You can exercise alone or with an exercise buddy (or with your kids) to stay motivated! Exercise early in the day and then wind down with some gentle breathing or yoga stretches before bed.
Schedule a Sleep Apnea Consultation
Anything you can do to get a better night’s sleep is crucial when you also have sleep apnea. Remember to seek treatment for this medical condition, whether using a CPAP, oral appliance, or myofunctional therapy. Our sleep apnea team has helped many patients (just like you!) reach their dream of a good night’s sleep. Call us today to learn more or schedule a consultation.