How can Physical Activity help you sleep?

Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and staves off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your abilities and reduce the ability to concentrate, think clearly and process memories.

Most adults require between 7-9 hours and children and teenagers need 8-10 hours and new-borns and infants need 15-17 hours of sleep per night. Some people can survive quite happily on less sleep than this – these are guidelines only.

However, sleep can be disturbed by many stressors such as work schedules, day-to-day stressors, a disruptive bedroom environment, and medical conditions. A healthy diet and positive lifestyle habits can help ensure good quality and adequate sleep. However, for some, chronic lack of sleep may be the first sign of a sleep disorder.


Why is sleep important?

Sleep has many aspects, including virtual paralysis of the body. The ability to dream which are a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the brain during certain stages of sleep.

During sleep, the majority of systems within the body goes anabolic; a state of growth, development and repair, to the bones, muscles and tissues and your immune and nervous systems. These are important for you to maintain health, mood, memory, and cognitive function. Your internal clock known as the circadian clock or rhythm promotes sleep at night.

There are many studies performed on sleep such as how to improve quality and issues/disorders with sleep such as insomnia.


How Does Physical Activity Help You Sleep Better?

Sleep deficiency can be caused by many things and can lower your body’s defences against diseases and medical conditions and if there is an ongoing health issue the body will struggle to recover.

  • Numerous studies have shown that exercise improves sleep quality. Better sleep means more energy. And it’s easier to exercise when you have energy. A wonderful cycle.
  • When you exercise your brain releases feel good chemicals that combat stress and anxiety. Stress and anxietyare sleep’s worst enemies but exercise can relax you and fight off the things that keep you tossing and turning.
  • Exercise tires you out. The more active you are the more your body increases your sleep drive so it can recover and improve. It doesn’t have to be exhausting! Maybe doing chores, walking, swimming or a sport.


How to improve your sleep

Diet and exercise are important but so is sleep. To help get better quality sleep, try these tips:-

  • Do not eat 2 hours before bed especially large meals. Give your body time to digest.
  • Avoid caffeine a stimulant found in coffee, energy drinks, and pop. If you do consume these, try to limit them to early in the day.
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • Move your body. Get regular exercise to improve your sleep. While any movement during the daytime is beneficial, aim to get regular, moderate exercise a few days a week. Try to avoid working out too close to bedtime, giving your body a couple of hours after working out to wind down before bed.
  • Get natural light: Try exercising outdoors, as exposure to natural light during the day can help keep your body sync with its natural sleep rhythms.
  • Relaxing bedroom environment, such as blocking light with thick curtains, using a white noise machine or relaxing music or sounds. Earplugs to drown out loud noises and bedroom temperature roughly 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius.
  • Avoid stimulus such as television, phones and other devices. Let the brain relax.

If you experience long-term sleep deficiency, you should consider seeing your GP as tests or treatments may be required.


Refer to the Wellness Service