Insomnia feels just like that moment when you have 15 different tabs open in your web browser and one of them is playing an advert. You’re not sure which tab the sound is coming from, but it grows louder and louder until you try to close down the whole window and your computer crashes. It may sound slightly odd, but think of your body as a computer, it needs to shut down but it has all of these programmes working in the background. I know this all too well, in fact I’m sleep-deprived as I write this. Insomnia is surprisingly common and it can make life very difficult. You can’t think during the day, everything happens in slow motion and you live with a permanent headache. Regardless of this, there are some things that you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
The first thing is to ensure that you have a bedtime routine. This will allow your body to prepare itself for sleep and acknowledge that it should start to relax. Worries and stress can prevent your body from being calm, and so it’s crucial that you have some sort of means of de-stressing as part of this bedtime routine. Your actual bedtime routine should start a few hours before you need to sleep, because it gives your body time to unwind.
Now, everybody does things differently, but one of the best forms of de-stressing is exercise. We always look at exercise as a means of being healthy, but it can actually be a prime factor in helping you sleep. It is not only good for your health and fitness, but it can tire you out to the point where you’ll fall asleep. Think of it as a way of overworking your body so it can shut down, just like a computer would.
Before we get started on the different kinds of exercises you can partake in, lets discuss the way that exercise can help us sleep. You’ll find that these reasons can act as motivating factors whenever you are feeling lazy. When you exercise, it causes your body temperature to rise, which means it is inevitably going to fall at some point later on. When your body temperature falls, it will allow your body to fall asleep. However it is important that you give your body time to do this. For example, if you exercise and then immediately try to sleep, your body will be too energised. However, if you try to sleep a few hours after you have exercised, you will find that you fall asleep quicker because your body temperature has had time to drop.
Types of exercise
There are two different types of exercise, aerobic and anaerobic. The former increases the amount of oxygen that is in the blood and the latter generally involves slower exercises designed to improve your overall fitness. To help you sleep, I recommend aerobic exercises as they are likely to get your heart rate going, causing your body temperature to rise quicker. There are also many types of aerobic exercises for you to pick from which allows for diversity to keep things exciting. Aerobic exercises can include everything from jogging to cycling; anything that gets your heart rate going.
The best thing to do is begin with anaerobic exercises in order to build up your strength and work your way up to the aerobic exercises. You only need to exercise for a period of 20 to 30 minutes. This can include anything from walking or running, the overall goal is to increase your heart rate and the amount of oxygen that is reaching your blood. Opt for your favourite forms of exercise, because it will allow you to enjoy yourself and this in turn will make you feel good (not to mention the endorphins that are released once you’ve exercised).
There are other forms of exercise that you can do:
Yoga involves breathing techniques and different postures in order to increase the blood circulation in the body. Doing this over time can really help to relieve you of stress, helping you sleep better because you won’t have anything to keep you up at night. There are also many forms of Yoga for you to try, so once you have got the hang of the basics, you can always move on to more complex postures. Yoga also has many other health benefits and so it can help you with your overall fitness.
Tai-Chi is another form of breathing that helps to promote relaxation. When you suffer from insomnia, it almost feels like you are out of balance, and Tai-Chi is a perfect way to harmonise your mind and body in order to feel more in tune. This can act as a stress reliever and is a very simple meditation. Tai-Chi is also beneficial for people that may potentially be unable to participate in aerobic activities, for example someone that has a disability.
Find the exercise that works for you and then use it as a form of stress relief. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you fall asleep and also how healthy you feel on a daily basis. A lack of sleep can have a strong impact on all areas of your life, it can make you grumpy, irritable and it prevents you from working to the best of your ability. Try out exercise and see what it can do for you!
Good luck and happy sleeping!
This article was written by Qurratulain Zaheer, a loyal insomniac and lover of sleep. She recommends Silentnight mattresses for the ultimate night of relaxed sleep.