Exercise can be a fantastic aid to great sleep, particularly if it features as a balanced part of your weekly routine and is scheduled at the appropriate times.
There’s no point getting up at the crack of dawn every day to exercise in an attempt to help you sleep well at night if the very act of rising early to work out means you’re missing out on valuable rest time every day. Here are a few ideas to help you plan the right times to schedule your workouts.
If you do prefer to exercise first thing, make sure that your sleep routine, and specifically your bedtime and pre-sleep routine support this. If you’re well rested, your exercise will be most effective and you’ll get the best results. If you exercise tired, there’s a limit to how much benefit you’ll experience from each workout.
Some people prefer to exercise in the middle of the day or straight after work. This is a great time to use physical activity to clear your head, mentally unwind and reset your energy to create two really effective halves of the day.
Getting active later in the evening can be a great way to draw a line under the day and prepare yourself for a good sleep, provided your exercise doesn’t over- stimulate you and prevent you from falling asleep. Time it right, and you can also make use the drop in temperature that follows activity which can lead into the drop in temperature that we all experience as we fall asleep.
Planning your ideal exercise time
The type of exercise that you do can dictate how relaxed or stimulated you will feel. It pays to plan your week so that you do the right activity at the right time. For example, team sports, group exercises or classes (when allowed) will probably stimulate your mind and energise you. Longer, slower sessions of cardio work such as walking, running, cycling or swimming are more likely to give you space to think, organise your thoughts and leave you feeling relaxed.
There’s a time and a place for all activity, just make sure your routine works for you. Make a plan to select the right type of workout at the right times through the week, and your regular exercise schedule will help you fall asleep quicker, sleep for longer, and improve the quality of your sleep.