When was the last time you slept like a baby? If you almost entered into a state of limbo on hearing that question, then most likely you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a while. Nothing to be alarmed about! The solution to improve your sleeping habits is not as dreadful as many people think.
Studies have shown that our sleeping patterns are closely related to how much physical exertion our body goes through during the day. Our body temperature rises during day time, and falls back down during the night. Doing an exercise routine four to five hours before bedtime triggers the body temperature to rise up, and later drops considerably lower than it would without any exercise – signaling the body to sleep better without any interference.
Many people misunderstand this straightforward concept and work exhaustively right before it’s time to sleep. That’s a big ‘no-no’ if you already have trouble sleeping through the night. A heavy dose of workout will still make you sleep like a baby, but it will be a baby on a sugar rush, with no intentions of sleeping at all.
To avoid any of that, here are some easy going bed exercises with which you can trick your body into thinking, “Yes, that’s my cue to shut down.”
Pick Up the Exercise to Do Before Bed from These 5 Light Exercises
1. Use of Body Weight:
According to Jeff Anderson, a 10 year veteran of the U.S. Army, body weight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, dips and squats can be replaced as effective workouts without the need of buying expensive gym equipment. To begin with, go for cycles of 1-2-3, i.e. 1 pull-up, 2 dips, and 3 pushups. Next, 2-4-6, 3-6-9, 4-8-12 and then reverse the order to finish. Make sure that you take no more than a minute-long break in between each cycle.
2. Brisk Walks:
If you are an ‘outdoorsy’ person, try an evening walk. It is one of the easiest ways to exercise, that also comes with a view. However, it is important to maintain the apt posture to get the best results.
Avoid leaning your back forward or backward. Look straight ahead, relax your shoulders and bulk up the chest by squeezing in your tummy. To start with, a 10-minute walk will get you into the game, but do increase your way up to 30 minutes a day.
3. Cat-Dog Stretch:
Another light exercise before bed! Get on all fours aligning your arms with the shoulders, and keep your knees straight under the hips. Keep your toes pointed to the floor. Proceed to pull your back up towards the ceiling and drop your neck down looking at your fingers. Stay in this (scared cat) position for a few seconds, then release your back into an arch and look straight ahead with neck up (like a dog posture). Repeat as long as it feels comfortable.
Considered to be a light exercise, relaxation based yoga poses can be highly beneficial in easing the tension in muscles and assisting in stress release.
Pose 1 – You can align your buttocks to the backrest of the bed, and raise your legs up in the air against the wall. Take deep breathes repeatedly in a slow and steady manner.
Pose 2 – Sit straight up on your bed with legs stretched out and crossed over. With ease, twist your right shoulder forward first, and then towards the left. Hold this position for half a minute, then repeat the same on the opposite side. Note – This is not advised for anyone with chronic back problems.
Pose 3 – A simple yet helpful pose. Lie down flat on your bed or yoga mat. Grab hold of your knees and pull them up towards your chest. Once you have formed a fetus position, gently rock back and forth for at least a minute while maintaining a deep breathing pattern.
5. Stair Climbing:
Often we overlook the basic facilities around the house that could be used as our personal gymnasium. This is another effective light exercise before bed that can help you sleep better. Climb the stairs in your house for 5-10 minutes till you start feeling the stress in your calves. It doesn’t have to be a full length of stairs that reach the upper level. You can even go back and forth on a couple of steps on the front porch. The key is to keep it simple and accessible.
Keep reminding yourself that your body follows your orders. If you feel drowsiness hitting you before dinner time, most likely your body is cooling down and getting ready to sleep. Although it’s a magical feeling for the moment, it is not so much fun at midnight when you’re staring at the bedroom ceiling thinking why you can’t sleep.
We want to hear from you how your physical routine has improved your sleeping. Let us know which of these exercises worked for you. Also, feel free to share the amazing dream you had in that long 8 hours of sleep.