If you have ever suffered from insomnia you will know that it is an annoying and destructive sleep disorder that affects the
quality and quantity of sleep in adults, as well as the quality of life. It can involve difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night, waking up too early in
the morning, and difficulty going back to sleep after waking up.
Insomnia has numerous negative effects on those who suffer from it, such
as causing one to feel fatigued and lethargic during the day, hence affecting
concentration and productivity levels.
Insomnia is caused by many factors, such as stress, anxiety, depression,
high workload or inactivity to name a few. Treating it, therefore, involves
dealing with the root cause. For example, depression-induced insomnia might be
treated with anti-depressants.
Surprisingly, most of these insomnia-inducing factors can be corrected
by increasing one’s activity levels and because most cases of insomnia are
the result of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, exercise can help treat it because it helps get rid of, or improve the underlying condition.
For example, a good workout can help eliminate stress and in the event that
stress was the cause of insomnia, that insomnia would also go away.
The natural antidote
It is scientifically proven that regular exercise, when done
consistently, can improve the quality of one’s sleep albeit gradually. A good,
morning workout helps one feel energetic and alert throughout the day,
resulting in one being productive. However, if your quality of sleep is poor,
you may end up still feeling slow and non-energetic, not to mention lethargic.
However, adopting an overall healthy lifestyle comprised of healthy
eating habits and regular exercise will definitely produce results. With time,
the quality of sleep will get better and you’ll be able to sleep longer and
stay asleep through the night.
Some of the benefits of good quality sleep include:
• High concentration levels
• High productivity levels
• Improved moods
• Decreased stress and anxiety
Some of the exercises that improve sleep are walking, jogging, swimming,
skipping and dancing. The impact of aerobic exercise on sleep is reportedly
much higher than that of any other form of exercise. Resistance training has
been reported to have very little effect on sleep if any.
For people with chronic insomnia, it is best to plan your workout
sessions in the evening. Researchers recommend that you work out at least 6
hours before bedtime. This will see you enjoy double results in that you will
sleep better at night as a result of working out, and you will be highly
productive and alert the next day as a result of a good night’s sleep.
While insomnia is not a condition that anyone wishes upon themselves,
you can help prevent it by remaining physically active and avoiding a sedentary
lifestyle. For people whose work involves sitting a lot, you could incorporate
physical activity into your routine by parking a block away from work and
walking the rest of the way to the office, taking the stairs instead of the
lift and going for a walk at lunchtime.
Building in regular exercise to your daily lifestyle is a healthy habit
for both mind and body and will help strike the right balance between exercise
and rest resulting in enhanced sleep patterns.