Losing Sleep During COVID-19? Here’s How and When to Exercise for Better Sleep
The novel coronavirus has brought unprecedented changes in everyone’s lives. With the lockdown, economy crashing and the risk of life, people are afraid. All this has created a generalized climate of anxiety, fear, stress, which can result in insomnia.While it is true that good sleep is critical to good health, it is also understandable why the sleeping schedule is flying under the radar, even for the people who have never faced this problem before.
Our recovery and immune system are influenced by sleep. Your body requires enough and sound sleep to function properly and when it does not get it, it affects both physical and mental health. Tiredness, dizziness, disrupted eating cycle, anxiety, stress, amotivation to do anything productive etc. Thus, with getting used to the new routine during the lockdown, it is essential to focus on sleeping well. Whether you’ve had sleeping problems before or they’ve come up due to the current crises, there are some concrete measures that you can take to improve your sleeping pattern – Exercise!
Experts say that exercise can help big time in the matter of sleep but implementation and timing is everything. With most of our movements restricted during the lockdown, it’s not easy to keep up with the exercise routine. Moreover, people might feel less motivated to exercise due to disrupted daily schedule during the lockdown. But it’s not just about the intense gym workout because even the small movements matter. In order to sleep better at night, the body has to be making movements during the day.
Now the question is when is the right time to exercise and how to do it?
The sleep pressure or the body’s need for sleep, gets accumulated when you spend more time awake. Which means, the more energy you spend during the day, doing even mild-moderate movements such as walking, household chores or swimming etc, the more sleep pressure will get built. This will result in proved sleep.
Sleep is directly related to the body temperature. The body temperature declines naturally at night which means the body needs sleep. Though this body temperature that we talk of, can be triggered to get sleep, by doing certain things. Most important factor of them all is that you need to exercise for better sleep. The reason behind this is, when you exercise, the body temperature rises which the body maintains for a few hours and drops steadily. This drop in the temperature further results in sleepiness.
When to exercise?
The precise or peak time for exercising has not been concluded but it is certain that the body should be completely relaxed before going to bed, which should be at least 45 minutes before sleeping. Which means that if you exercise, the normal body temperature should be back at least 45 minutes prior, giving your body time to relax and ready to rest.
Moreover, if you get a 30 minutes Cardio throughout the day, you will be sleepy enough by the time it is time for bed. Other than that, you can also try Aerobic exercise before 1 or 2 hours before bed time. This gives time to wash out the endorphins and the sleep pressure is high. While some people do not find exercising close to bed time i.e. night, helpful, other do not see a point working out during early mornings or day time. Though people who exercise do see the benefits of exercising to their sleeping patterns.
You know your body better and know how you function. Even though the time to exercise is not scripted, as long as you work out throughout the day, it will make a difference.
Which exercise and how much exercise do you need?
Cardio is proven to give good sleep results and you can start with Cardiovascular exercises. Other strength exercising like Pushups, squats, etc., can exhaust your body and improve your sleep. On the other hand, you can do stretching exercises for better sleep has the meditative qualities which also help with sleep patterns. It release stress from body and relaxes your breathing and mind, which helps you fall asleep at night.
There are number of ways in which you can exercise for better sleep. Whether it is early in the morning or before bedtime. You can wake up every morning at the same time and exercise before starting your day. Do the exercises that gets your heart rate up. But if you choose to work out during the evening or night, meditative exercise like yoga would be better.
Aim for atleast 150 minutes of mild-moderate movement a week.