| Exercise and Sleep
sleep. It's particularly important to
watch what you put in your body in
the hours leading up to your bedtime.
Stay away from big
meals at night.
Try to make dinner time earlier in
the evening, and avoid heavy, rich
foods within two hours of bed. Fatty
foods take a lot of work for your
stomach to digest and may keep
you up. Also be cautious when it
comes to spicy or acidic foods in
the evening, as they can cause
stomach trouble and heartburn.
Avoid alcohol before bed.
Many people think that a nightcap
before bed will help them sleep.
While it may make you fall asleep
faster, alcohol reduces your sleep
quality, waking you up later in the
night. To avoid this effect, so stay
away from alcohol in the hours before
Cut down on caffeine.
Caffeine can cause sleep problems
up to ten to twelve hours after
drinking it! Consider eliminating
caffeine after lunch or cutting back
your overall intake.
Smoking causes sleep troubles in
numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant,
which disrupts sleep. Additionally,
smokers actually experience
nicotine withdrawal as the
night progresses, making it hard to
If you have any serious medical
conditions, are very overweight,
or haven't exercised in years, talk
to your doctor about your plans for
exercising before you begin. Make
sure to start exercising slowly,
gradually increasing your workout
time and intensity, so you don't
get sidelined by injury. Remember,
regular exercise can help you feel,
look and sleep better.
We all know that regular exercise
is good it is for us, and research
finds new benefits every day. Regular
exercise improves heart health
and blood pressure, builds bone
and muscle, helps combat stress
and muscle tension, and can even
Now you can add one more benefit:
sound sleep. Exercise can help
you sleep sounder and longer and
feel more awake during the day.
The key is found in the type of exercise
you choose and the time
you participate in it during the day.
Finding the right
time to exercise:
Exercising vigorously right before
bed or within about three hours of
your bedtime can actually make
it harder to fall asleep. It's often
thought that a good workout before
bed helps you feel more tired.
In actuality, vigorous exercise right
before bed stimulates your heart,
brain and muscles -- the opposite
of what you want at bedtime. It also
raises your body temperature right
before bed, which is not what you
Morning exercise can relieve stress
and improve mood. These effects
can indirectly improve sleep, no doubt.
To get a more direct sleep-promoting
benefit from morning exercise,
however, you can couple it
with exposure to outdoor light. Being
exposed to natural light in the
morning, whether you're exercising
or not, can improve your sleep
at night by reinforcing your body's
When it comes to having a direct
effect on getting a good night's
sleep, it's vigorous exercise in the
late afternoon or early evening that
appears most beneficial. That's
because it raises your body temperature
above normal a few hours
before bed, allowing it to start falling
just as you're getting ready for
bed. This decrease in body temperature
appears to help trigger a
good nights sleep.
Try to schedule at least 20 minutes
of vigorous exercise three or four
times a week. Choose whatever
activity you enjoy. Take a fitness
boxing class, go for a run, swim,
bike, ski, play tennis, walk the dog
-- just make it part of your routine.
How to sleep better:
Eat right and get
Your daytime eating and exercise
habits play a role in how well you