Tag Archives: Better Sleep

Exercise Before Bed, Is it Good for Sleep?

Soldier runningExercise before bed was always regarded as not good for your night’s sleep, however new research suggest otherwise. The new findings show that people who workout at any time of the day, or night, sleep better than those who don’t exercise.

Is Exercise Good for Sleep?

Yes, definitely exercise is one of the best ways to improve your sleep, and it has so many benefits for your sleep, that it is almost foolish to not have some sort of physical activity.

Regular physical exercise regulates hormonal activity, and this will have an impact on sleep. Exercise also helps reduce stress levels, and anxiety, this in turn will also improve your sleep.

Did you ever feel too tired to fall asleep? That only happens with mental tiredness, you will never say you are too tired after you unload a furniture truck, you’ll just fall asleep right away. People with regular physical activity fall asleep easier, and have a better sleep quality than those without. We always knew that after a good workout we sleep better, but now there is scientific research to support it. This study, (sleep and exercise), showed that exercising improves sleep.

I started exercising yesterday and I couldn’t fall asleep. That’s the problem with most people, they expect results immediately. The research study mentioned earlier, shows that for people in their sixties, sleep will only improve after 16 weeks. What it is even more interesting, is that on a short term, exercising is influenced by sleep. People who sleep less tend to exercise less, at the gym. So the two are in a very complex relationship, and not getting enough sleep, makes you less willing to exercise, and by not exercising enough, you have a poor sleep quality.

Exercise Before Bed, Is it Good, or Bad for my Sleep?

Working Out before bed

You know the saying that exercising just before bed might negatively impact your sleep. Is it true, or it is just a myth?

This article suggests that exercising just before bed, is not going to affect sleeping, so in other words the rule to exercise at least three hours before bed does not bear any support, and is not true.

My personal experience, and from interviewing people around me, is that exercise does affect your ability to sleep. The science behind it, is that your body needs to cool down before sleep, your body temperature drops a few degrees. By exercising you increase your body temperature, and it will take at least a couple of hours, if not three to get cooled down. This signals your brain that it is not the time for sleep, yet, so your brain doesn’t send the necessary chemicals to send you to sleep.

However, there are people who trained their brain to send sleep signals whenever they want, and this is an intuitive process, not necessarily a conscientious one, but it works for them. This is how people using the Uberman schedule get to sleep fast. For most of us though, going to sleep immediately after exercise, is going to be a struggle.

What if my schedule only allows me to exercise before bedtime?

Well, that sucks, but you are not the only one in this situation. But the reality, as underlined by the article mentioned before, is that it is better to exercise, and lose 60 minutes of poor sleep, and rest properly for the rest of the night.

You might even get used to this new situation, and start adjusting faster, from physical stress to relaxation mode. But even if you don’t, here are a couple of great tips to convince your body is sleep time:

Bring your bedroom at a very low temperature at bed time, and arrange your thermostat so it gradually raise the rooms temperature to normal after a little while.

Drink calming herbal teas, such as chamomile, linden, and valerian.


How To Get Better Sleep – 5 Simple Tips to Sleep Better

5 Simple Tips to Sleeping Better

 1. Bright Lights Before Bed affects a Good Night’s SleepHow To Get Better Sleep

Turning out all the unnecessary lights in your house, and dim those that are necessary, if possible. Darkness is key for melatonin secretion, which is very important to go to sleep quickly and easily at the right time. Light a few candles around the house (but don’t leave them unattended, use a candleholder). This will help your body naturally get ready for sleep.

Through the years, our ancestors were dependent on our sun to light the way for them during the day. At night, they were dependent on the darkness to sleep. Many predators slept at night, so it was safer to rest then.

By following in the footsteps of our ancestors, you won’t be fighting your body for sleep, but instead working with it, getting you restful sleep.

2. Ambient light will keep you awake

Pull all your curtains to sleep better

Pulling your curtains closed prevents ambient light from your neighbors, passing cars, and other irritations through the night. These distractions can make restful sleep elusive, and harder to come by. Once you are asleep, bright light can trick your body into thinking that it is daytime.

Consider getting some black out curtains, like hotels frequently have. They are a bit more expensive than mini blinds or vertical blinds, but they will help keep light out of your bedroom.  A sleep mask or some other sort of eye coverings designed for sleeping will also help.

Thermometer3. Temperature Affects Your Sleep

One of the physiological processes involved with going to sleep is that your body lowers your temperature by a few degrees. The optimal temperature for sleep is in the 60 to 70 degree range. If you normally prefer a warmer environment, you may be sabotaging your sleep. When your body is getting ready for sleep, (without you knowing it), it naturally drops your core temperature a bit. This is a completely normal part of going to sleep. The lowest core temperature usually hits about 4:30 in the morning.

Now, I am not talking about dropping your thermostat to 40 degrees and freezing. Just a slight decrease in temperature is all that is needed, enough that your body isn’t fighting to get cooler.

4.  Don’t forget the rest of your lights.

So, you have turned off most or all of the lights, and are curled up in your bed to watch Dancing with the Stars. It seems however, that you have forgotten a light. As it turns out, your television has either a LED or fluorescent lightbulb in it, so that you can see the colors. What’s more, the light produced by your television is most certainly one of the worst kinds of light to prevent sleepiness.  Follow the link to learn how important darkness is for sleep.

The same goes for your computer monitor. And yes, your phone as well. Put your phone in a drawer and turn the ringer off unless there is some important call you are expecting in the middle of the night.

Coffee Cup5. Effect of Caffeine and Alcohol on sleep.

Caffeine will keep you awake

Coffee affects your sleep whether you stay awake during the night or not. Caffeine spends a remarkably long time in your body, all things considered. The half-life of caffeine is 5 hours, which means if you have a Starbuck’s at 5 PM, you will have about half of the amount of caffeine still in your system at bedtime. Even if you sleep through the night, and you think that it doesn’t affect you, the quality of sleep is poor, when you have an extra cup of joe, and this will impact your activity next day. Cut out caffeine in the afternoon, and hopefully your mind won’t be overly stimulated at 10 PM.

Alcohol and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. 1 to 2 drinks before bed will help you go to sleep, but may increase sleep apnea symptoms, if you have any. Further drinking may cause nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant effects that will hurt your attempts at a good nights. Try to taper off your drinking near the end of the day, and drink lots of water or possibly sports drink to replenish electrolytes, hopefully preventing a hangover the next morning.

By following these simple 5 steps, you can improve your sleep tonight and feel more rested and energetic tomorrow morning, ready to attack the day.

Lightbulb Photo: KMJ