exercise improves sleep improves exercise

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.  – Walt Whitman

We all enter phases of our life when we can’t sleep. When laying in bed is like listening to a clothes dryer with shoes tumbling inside. When the worries or events of the day continue to circulate, thumping and clunking back and forth, around and around through our brain as we lay in the silence, anxiously awaiting the annoying cycle of the night to end.

There are many causes for insomnia, some include:
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Jet lag
  • Aging
  • Depression
  • Pain

The good news…studies indicate exercise improves sleep improves exercise!

Yes, regular exercise can help manage insomnia. And, regular exercise in the fresh air works even better. But wait, there’s more – regular exercise in the fresh air and early morning sunlight is the best antidote for sleeplessness.

It’s true, exposure to early-morning sunlight can help you sleep at night. Taking a walk in some direct sunlight outdoors for at least one-half hour produces the most benefit.

So, before you search the shelves of the local pharmacy in comatose desperation for a helpful, short term sleep aid, try this alternative, natural prescription – one dose of a 30 minute early morning sunlight infused walk, four times a week, at 75% of maximum HR for about 16 weeks.

Pair the walking with a program of sleep hygiene education and odds are those nights full of wakefulness will disappear – permanently!

Of course taking a pill is faster, involves far less commitment and behavior change, and does the trick for a short term emergency. But long term – there are those nasty side effects which develop over time. The body builds up a tolerance, the mind becomes psychologically dependent and eventually, the pill loses effectiveness, interfering with the bodies ability to naturally fall asleep. The insomniac is back to square one.

Studies indicate it takes at least sixteen weeks of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity to improve sleep quality. Long term side effects – a fitter body, a healthier heart and reduced stress and anxiety. Sounds like Walt Whitman had the right idea!

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