I hear you…insomnia and sleep difficulty are painful! Often changes like moving house can impact on our routine and sleep patterns.
Given the tiredness that insomnia can make you feel, often people will avoid exercise. However a lack of physical activity can contribute to insomnia by inhibiting the daily rise and fall of our body temperature rhythm. As a result, you can get caught up in a vicious cycle of insomnia, reduced energy and physical activity and worsened insomnia, and it's a hard cycle to break!
Alongside appropriate sleep hygeine, exercise can be helpful in the reduction of sleeplessness for a number of reasons. Exercise is a physical stressor to the body and the brain compensates by helping you spend more time in stage 4 sleep, which is deep sleep.
For many people, the ideal time to exercise is in the morning. For overcoming insomnia, some research has shown that exercising in the late afternoon or in the early evening is best. Exercise produces a rise in body temperature, followed by a drop a few hours later. If you exercise 4-5 hours before bedtime, the drop in temperature which occurs 2-4 hours after exercise, will make it easier to fall and stay asleep, allow a smoother transition between sleep cycles and stages, and allow you to spend more time in deep sleep. If exercise occurs outdoors it increases exposure to bright sunlight which also helps to regulate body temperature rhythm and improve sleep quality. However, whether you exercise in the morning or afternoon, it's best to avoid exercise in the late evening or just before going to bed (especially vigorous exercise) as exercise is stimulating and it can take time for the body to wind down.
Being kind to your body through moderate exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, or cycling) lasting 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times per week will help with sleep and energy levels. Yoga a nd stretching exercises can also be beneficial in helping you wind down. For improving sleep, it's also important to be consistent in your routine and self-nurturing behaviour. This includes exercise, relaxation, eating healthy, and getting to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Everybody is different and respond in different ways. It might be worth chatting to your GP or a clinical psychologist to help you deal with this. We would be happy to help if you need it!
Report this post
You must be a HealthShare member to report this post.
to your account or
now (it's free).