Research suggests that losing even 30 minutes of sleep per day may promote weight gain, and adversely affect blood sugar levels, creating long-term consequences for your weight and metabolism. We’ve for long known that for those who workout, the all-important shut-eye is a real life saver as it also aids the process of muscle repair and helps your body build up the energy to keep you supercharged the next day.
But, what about turning things on their head and looking at them the other way around? It’s not just about busy schedules. Sometimes, even when we go to bed at a reasonable hour, we have trouble sleeping (or staying asleep) and are in a constant state of restlessness. Yes, insomnia is a very real sleeping disorder which is plaguing the millennial generation, given their chaotic lifestyles, misplaced emotions and preoccupied minds.
Now the upside is that healthy living and working out is also an obsession among this generation, which is why we’re here to tell you that you need to Exercise Your Right To Sleep, or to put things into perspective, indulge in some basic physical activities or workouts that will help usher your body into rest mode. It works on a three-point agenda:
- When you exercise, your body builds up heat and uses a lot of energy. This leads you to feel the need to crash and take some rest when your body temperature reaches equilibrium.
- Insomnia is often linked to depression and anxiety; working out releases endorphins (happy hormones) which are contradictory, and therefore therapeutic.
- If your body clock or circadian rhythm is out of whack, exercise can help rewire the missed connections. Waking up early to workout may prompt you to sleep earlier and be in sync with your body clock.
Make note that they key is to do cardio workouts at a light-moderate intensity. You don’t want to shake your body up into alertness, you just want to tire it mildly to induce sleep. Flip to see your exercise options.
Elliptical Machine: A cross trainer is an extremely low-impact cardiovascular workout that opens up the lungs and improves blood circulation in the body. This workout improves your sleep cycle in the long run by delivering more oxygen to the body. It is exactly why we recommend you invest in an elliptical machine over a treadmill for your at-home gym. About 3-4 hours before you hit the sack, jump on the cross trainer for 15-20 minutes to work out that tension in your body.
Swimming: We’ve all been there, dying to take a nap after a swim, because it feels oh-so-blissful. Working out in water makes for a safe and effective cardio exercise that gets the heart-rate up. This no-sweat routine requires more energy than you realize; you never notice how tired you truly are, until you step out of the pool. Swimming helps de-stress you and clears the mind, too. You’ll be sleeping like a baby, within the hour.
Tai Chi: It can be broadly defined as a mind+body exercise that combines slow and conscious movements with breathing and brain-related skills such as imagery and mindfulness. Tai Chi clears the mind and reduces stress, anxiety and depression, making room for rest and relaxation. It’s a low-impact, light exercise that will help calm the chaos in your mind.
Take A Walk
Take A Walk: Walking at a quick, steady pace in an upright posture for about 30 minutes per day improves your heart health and helps to release stress and tension. You can try an alternative technique while walking, which is targeted at treating insomnia. A research at Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Institute found that focused walking in a labyrinth reduced anxiety. If done on a regular basis, it can reduce blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, and improve concentration. The labyrinth stimulates the intuitive ‘right brain’, and can be relaxing.
Yoga: Yogic sleep, or yoga nidra, is a method of advanced relaxation that can draw you into a deep, replenishing sleep, or provide a meditative midday break to restore your inner peace. Yoga nidra is a state of conscious deep sleep: while the body rests, the brain remains awake and aware. But in all its forms, yogic sleep promotes an incredible calmness of the body, and clarity of mind. Practice yogic sleep at least three times a week to fully experience its restorative effects.