It’s a fact: sleep aids in the regeneration of the body tissues.
Sleep troubles like insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea mean your body doesn’t heal well.
This predisposes your body to stress, anxiety, as well as tiredness.
It might sound counterintuitive, but try exercising. From the relaxing effects of yoga poses to the mentally rejuvenating effects of breathing exercises, there’s a gentle, sleep-promoting exercise to suit everyone.
Here are the top types of exercise to improve your sleep cycle and clear the way for you to enjoy a consistent, powerful sleep routine.
One of the most effective ways to enhance your sleep is through yoga poses and asanas. If you’re unable to sleep throughout the night, try a few yoga asanas. Poses like Standing Forward Bend, Plow Pose, Child’s Pose, and the Garland Pose aid in relaxing the sleep cycle. The Child’s Pose stretches the hips, back, thighs, and ankles. It helps alleviate back pain and curbs neck soreness. Further, the pose might relieve psychological distress and decrease fatigue.
The Garland Pose, involves sitting down in the squatting position. It enhances concentration, induces mental clarity, and boosts your focus. Such effects contribute to an improved sleep cycle and reduce the chances of stress-induced insomnia. You can couple up the Plow Pose with the other poses to improve your sleep cycle. All you need to do is lie on your back and keep the palms flat on the ground. The next step is to raise the legs and try to touch them on the floor. Such poses induce top-notch mental relaxation.
Breathing techniques can also provide a base of useful sleep-promoting exercise. There are many of these to try.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves inhaling for around four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds.
The three-part breathing technique includes inhaling deeply for a few seconds. Pause. Then, try to exhale fully and gradually. The goal is to increase the duration of the exhalation such that it becomes twice that of the inhalation.
Nadi Shodhana, also known as Alternate Nasal Breathing, can help you soothe your mind and increase your sleep length. Inhale through one nostril, hold, and then exhale through the other. Then, inhale through the nostril you just exhaled through. Finally, exhale through the first nostril. Repeat for at least five minutes.
These breathing exercises can help relax your mind, increase blood circulation, and enhance the release of sleep hormones. On top of this, they can boost the release of endorphins and might decrease cortisol.
Did you know that jumping rope several hours before bedtime can improve your sleep and increase the release of sleep hormones? With the rhythmic movements of the exercise, you’re likely to get rid of anxious thoughts. It allows your mind to get free from the burden of what-ifs and past experiences. Also, exercise increases the breakdown of fats and induces fatigue. As the levels of fatigue increase, so do sleep quality and consistency. You can do around four to five sets of 40 to 50 repetitions per day for better sleep. Try taking at least a one-minute break in between to relax your muscles and catch up on the breath.
Yoga is a discipline that involves meditation and breathing, but plain old stretching exercises can also improve your sleep cycle. Some stretching exercises like the bear hug, neck stretches, and low lunges help relieve muscular tension. Also, it reduces the chances of sleep-related cramps and eases down the sore muscles. You can practice the bear hug stretch by opening your arms wide while inhaling. During the second step, you need to exhale during the exhalation phase of breathing.
For the low lunge stretch, you can place the right foot below the right knee and extend the left leg backwards. Make sure to perform the stretching exercises before you hit the bed for maximum rejuvenation.
Physical activity is essential to maintain proper health, both in the mental and biological spheres. But exercises can improve your sleep cycle and counter sleep-related issues as well. You can try out various activities like yoga poses or stretching exercises to relieve muscular aches. Along with this, jumping ropes induces mental clarity and reduces the frequency of anxiety. You must perform the activities during the daytime for the sleep-enhancing effects. When done during the night, it acts oppositely and interferes with the sleep cycle.
Jessica Smith is a content creator with “The Lion” chronotype. It’s her mission to create sustainable solutions for lasting health, happiness, and confidence by cutting through the noise in the fitness and health industry. She envisions a world where self-love and care are daily habits.
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