I want to get more sleep today and running sounds terrible.
This post is part of the 31 Excuses To Not Run series, where I asked 31 friends to give me their excuses. 31 excuses for 31 days – you have an excuse for every day of the month. And now you have a little motivation and some ideas on how to get past those excuses.
I want to get more sleep today and running sounds terrible. – Jeff
I’ll just put a scientific fact out there: The National Sleep Foundation has found that exercise helps with chronic sleep issues and insomnia. Very simply, by walking a little bit more, you will find that it’s easier to fall asleep at night and you will feel more rested when you wake up. I could get into all of the technical findings in the study around improved circadian rhythm, decrease in anxiety and depression, but I’m not going to. I have more questions about how sleep and exercise are related, and this is what I found to be helpful.
How long before bed should I stop exercising?
In 2013 the National Sleep Foundation’s “Sleep in America” poll studied the sleep habits of 1,000 participants. They found 83% of people who exercised at any time of day, including the night time just before bed, reported sleeping better than those who didn’t exercise at all. That’s pretty good evidence for the fact that exercising before bed will not affect your sleep in a negative way.
What type of exercise is best for sleep?
There are 3 types of workouts that will help you sleep better. Not only will you sleep better, but you will feel less stressed and more alert throughout the day. You have to find the workout style that works for you and not every will have the same workout routine. Aerobic (or Cardio) Exercise will get your heart rate running and it has shown to have improved sleep patterns in people that run, bike, swim or play racquetball. You can take 20 or 30 minutes of your day and do a run or a quick walk, and if you do that 2-3 times per day, you’ll sleep well. Strength Training is also proven to be a great way to get more sleep at night. By building muscle, your body will need to rest and your body will start to shut down quicker at night as you build new muscle. Yoga is a pretty good way to get some exercise in and sleep better. My brother Kevin is a Yogi (he even has the fluffy red hair to look the part), and he would swear by yoga as a great way to improve flexibility and calm down before going to bed at night. If you are struggling with insomnia, some studies show that doing yoga over an 8-10 week period will improve your body’s awareness of sleep patterns.
Do you need more sleep if you exercise a lot?
The short answer is yes – your body does need to recover if you are being more active. The fact that your body is in recovery mode as you are sleeping means that your body is building muscle and getting in better shape. It’s ok to push your body to a point where it needs to recover. Most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, and we’re probably not getting the right amount of sleep. Am I right? Tack on another 30 to 60 minutes of sleep at night when you start increasing your workout intensity and you should be fine.
Running Sucks…But you get to sleep more when you run!
(Read the other 30 excuses for not wanting to run)