While many people think a good night’s sleep is about simply getting more hours between the sheets, it’s also about actually getting quality rest. The good news is, there are things you can do to help improve your sleep.
Exercise, for instance, is a great way to get your body and mind in shape for a better night’s sleep. In addition to improving your overall health, exercise can help you fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply and wake up less during the night.
The best exercises to do for a good night’s sleep:
- Go for a walk. Walking is one of the easiest ways to get moving and improve your health. In fact, according to the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity, most active adults need 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Aim for an overall goal of 30 minutes daily — either in one session or in two 15-minute blocks.
- Pull out your yoga mat. Yoga combines physical poses with breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation. This combination can help improve both physical fitness and mental well-being. Research suggests that yoga increases brain chemicals that promote relaxation and reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine. Yoga can be practiced at home or in a class setting by people of all ages and fitness levels.
- Do progressive muscle relaxation exercises. Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing individual muscles in your body one at a time. Try tensing up your toes and feet as tightly as possible for 5 seconds, then slowly releasing them and allowing them to relax for 30 seconds before moving on to the next muscle group. Work your way up from your toes all the way up to your face and neck. This will help relieve tension throughout your body.