1. Just as sleep improves the body's response to exercise, exercise can improve the quality of your sleep.
2. Exercise moves carbohydrates and amino acids into muscles, allowing room for tryptophan, a small amino acid that induces sleep, to get into the brain. Exercise also increases the amount of available tryptophan that can be moved into the brain.
3. Once you get into a consistent exercise routine, you will be able to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
We know that sleep helps heal the body and amplifies the response to exercise, making us healthier, fitter, stronger, and smarter. We also know it works the other way around too: exercise helps improve the quality of our sleep, even for people with sleep problems. Exercise may improve sleep quality by regulating body temperature, though the exact physiology to explain how exercise improves sleep is still being explored.
Acute-exercise experiments that measured the sleep physiology of subjects who either performed or refrained from daytime exercise indicate that exercise is associated with a small but reliable increase in stage 2 and slow-wave sleep.30 Exercise may improve sleep quality by regulating body temperature, though the exact physiology to explain how exercise improves sleep is still being explored.
Exercise acts just like insulin in that it moves carbohydrates and large amino acids into muscle, thus removing them from competition with tryptophan, a small amino acid that induces sleep, to get into the brain. Exercise also improves fatty acid metabolism, which helps increase the available tryptophan that can be moved into the brain. Try an evening walk after dinner or yoga to help you create the physiological conditions for falling asleep quickly and sleeping deeply.
In the short term, when you begin an exercise routine or change up your routine to make it more challenging, there may be a period when your sleep actually worsens. This can last for a week or even longer. But once you adapt to the new exercise load, your body and brain get better at handling the exercise stress and your sleep will start to improve. You’ll fall asleep faster, and you’ll sleep more deeply. It might take you some time to figure out what works for you, but keep at it, because when you get a great night’s sleep, you’ll feel fantastic. And that’s how you should feel all the time!
Bonus Workout of the Day: 20-minute body weight workout
Today's New Habit: Sprinkle movement into your day
Now that you’ve decreased your sitting time, it’s time to sprinkle some more physical activity into your day. This doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. Like the sitting habit, there are some simple strategies you can use to increase your daily physical activity:
1. IF YOU DRIVE TO WORK, TRY PARKING YOUR CAR FURTHER AWAY THAN YOU NORMALLY DO.
2. IF YOU HAVE THE OPTION TO WALK OR RIDE YOUR BIKE TO WORK, THAT’S EVEN BETTER.
3. WHENEVER POSSIBLE, SCHEDULE A WALKING MEETING INSTEAD OF ONE IN WHICH EVERYONE IS SITTING AROUND A TABLE.
4. IF YOU HAVE A BREAK BETWEEN MEETINGS, PHONE CALLS, OR TASKS, GO FOR A QUICK WALK. IN ADDITION TO THE PHYSICAL BENEFITS, THIS WILL CLEAR YOUR HEAD, MAKING YOU MORE PRODUCTIVE FOR THE REST OF THE WORKDAY.
Try these strategies over the next couple of weeks. The goal is to sprinkle 15 minutes of physical activity into each day, so if you can’t do it all at once, that’s okay! Add up your total active time at the end of the day to see if you’re hitting that 15-minute goal. Let us know how it goes!
The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.