One of the biggest robbers of sleep is stress. Stress affects the way we eat, the way we think and feel, and yes, how we sleep. Our eyes may become heavy and as we lay in bed ready for sleep, our mind suddenly turns on. All the events of the past day or the last 40 years vividly appear for re-examination. We close our eyes tighter hoping the movie will stop playing, and then, the morning alarm goes off.
According to many studies, not only does exercise have a big impact on our health but also the quality of our sleep. When our bodies are constantly in motion, it not only keeps us flexible and focused but also tires us out! Research shows that daily exercise is very effective in helping us manage the stress of the day or accumulated over the years. A gym routine 3 or 4 times a week is great, but our bodies work best if we add as little as a 30-minute brisk walk a day.
An Evening Routine
Turn your evening routine into a ritual. You work a stressful job and have a house and family that need your attention, still, you need to carve out some “Me Time”. When all the end-of-the-day tasks are completed including dinner, clean up, homework and lunches, drop into your self-care routine. Your sleep should be very important to you, so make sure you do everything you can to ensure it comes easily and lasts throughout the night.
Whether you had a date with the gym earlier in the morning or at lunch, your evening ritual should always be the same. For example, what releases the stress of the day and helps me wind down is a 30 to 45-minute walk. Some get the same results from a long soak in the tub, or perhaps yoga.
Everyone is different and you need to find what works for you. For me, since starting this routine of getting my body moving at the end of the day, it has helped me relax into the best sleep I have ever had. I may be temporarily energized but my body quickly finds that moment when it’s all systems off!
An Early Morning Routine
As soon as you wake up, do a few stretches to get your blood flowing and get the kinks out of being still for many hours. This daily routine will easily set you up for a great day feeling energized and mentally focused.
Here are some stretches you can do while still in bed. First, sit up and reach for the sky and with a little lean to the right and then to the left, get things started. Then grab one knee at a time and pull it towards your chest a few times and then repeat on the other side. Once your feet touch the floor then reach for your toes and feel that pull in your back. That feels great, right?!!
Get energized morning, noon, and night, and welcome a healthier body and a better sleep!
Gerry, Your Sleep Expert