How many times have you woken up in the morning feeling more worn out than the night before? Don’t worry; you are not alone! According to the Sleep Association, roughly 70 million Americans face the same mind-numbing exhaustion due to sleep-related disorders.
If you are looking for ways to banish sleeplessness, a regular walk may prove to be the miracle cure for you. Experts suggest the ‘20-minute rule for five days a week’ to experience the wondrous effects of the most popular form of exercise.
Let’s explore the science behind this claim and go through expert advice for tried and tested ways to help you hit the sack quicker.
What is Insomnia?
If you are one of those who have trouble falling asleep and spend a long time in bed before finally dozing off, you may be experiencing sleep-onset insomnia. It may be triggered by stress, jet lag, certain medications, or underlying health conditions.
Sadly, insomnia can turn a person into a shell of what they once were. Thereby, begins a vicious cycle that negatively affects all aspects of your life. While you can use several methods to sleep better, incorporating a moderate exercise routine is perhaps the most simple and effective method.
But what is the link between walking and insomnia? For that, you need to read on. Here we will elucidate how to sleep better by increasing the number of steps you take each day.
How Does Exercise Help To Sleep Better?
So, you might know that melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep patterns. So, a higher melatonin level equals better sleep. As a result, when your body doesn’t produce enough melatonin, you have trouble falling asleep.
According to research, exercise has a direct effect on acute and delayed melatonin production. Quite simply, a 20-minute walk signals your body to produce melatonin, the essential hormone responsible for helping you relax and achieve better sleep. The effects might be visible within minutes or after twelve hours.
Similarly, researchers at John Hopkins University claim that moderate exercise helps people with insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. Their studies highlight that light aerobic exercise induces a response in your body similar to taking sleeping pills(artificial melatonin).
Additionally, a light walk will not only help you sleep better but is also linked with reducing stress and improving overall physical and mental well-being.
Thankfully, walking for twenty minutes each day, 2400 steps in 24 hours, is an effortless target to achieve. Because neither you need fancy equipment nor a gym membership for it. All you need is a pair of trusty old sneakers and a track.
Just choose a time that suits your schedule and enjoy better sleep. Traditionally, we were advised against evening walks, claiming that they interfere with our body’s ability to relax. However, new research suggests that you won’t have any issues as long as you avoid strenuous exercise an hour before bedtime.
Nevertheless, you might need to make some other changes to your lifestyle to eliminate insomnia. So let’s go through some more expert suggestions and tips.
How to Sleep Better
So, here are a few changes you can make to improve your sleep patterns.
Stick to a Routine
Your mama was right! The key to better sleep is to stay in moderation and stick to a routine. Fix a strict time for hitting the sack and stay consistent!
Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends. This is a simple way to time your body’s internal clock; fluctuations in bedtime can produce a jet-lagged effect.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to wave goodbye to your naps. A quick power nap on the most tiresome days is considered okay. But if your power nap turns into a snooze, you will find it difficult to go to sleep at night.
Once you sync up your body to the routine, you might even be able to ditch your alarm clock!
Avoid Heavy Meals
A hearty meal may make you feel satisfied and tired, but it is your sleep’s worst enemy. It’s because your body needs more time to digest it. So, if you hit the sack before your body had a chance to digest all those calories, you experience poor sleep.
Therefore, your evening meal should be light but filling- since you won’t be able to sleep with a growling tummy!
Cut the Caffeine
According to research, caffeine intake, especially near bedtime, can result in poor sleep quality. A shot of espresso, sodas, or even a doughnut can bring about a surge of caffeine in your body.
Therefore, it is crucial to limit your caffeine intake during the day if you want to see any changes in your sleep behavior. Try going on a detox for two weeks and eliminate all forms of caffeine from your diet. If you can achieve better sleep this way, you have found your culprit.
Avoid Blue Light
With the advent of the smartphone, the world has suffered multiple side effects. Perhaps the most prominent of these is insomnia.
Teenagers, adults, and even kids are habitual of taking their gadgets to bed. What happens is, the blue light of your device tricks the mind to believe that it’s still sunny as day. Hence, even when you put the device down, your mind is alert and unable to relax.
Make it a point to keep these gadgets out of your bedroom and avoid using them completely an hour before bed.
If you find yourself asking how to sleep better, you are one step closer to finding a solution. This is because you have accepted that there is an issue. As discussed above, plenty of techniques help you sleep like a horse; a 20-minute walk is one of them.
However, you must visit your doctor if nothing works and you find yourself sliding into depression. Remember, it may be challenging to fight sleeplessness, but it’s not impossible!