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Do This During the Day to Sleep Better at Night

fitness Jan 22, 2024

I had the best night’s sleep last night. A full 7-and-a-half hours uninterrupted. No bathroom run, no uncomfortable sleep positions, just 7+ hours of unconsciousness.

When I woke up and checked my phone, I fully expected it to be about 3am. That’s the time I usually pop out of my sleep cycle for whatever reason.

What did I do differently?

I ran 3 miles yesterday.

Can I say for certain that it was the run that had me sleeping so soundly?

Without hesitation, yes.

Does this mean you have to run miles each day to sleep soundly? No.

Struggling with Sleep? You're not Alone.

Did you know that up to 70 million Americans don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night to maintain great health? As a matter of fact, a Gallup survey from 2022, shows that 33% of Americans rate their sleep as fair or poor. You may count yourself among them.

What can you do?

One of the simplest ways to improve sleep is to move your body more. A scoping review (similar to a meta-analysis) published in 2023 reviewed twenty-one randomized controlled trials on the effects of exercise on sleep. Seventy-eight percent (over 2,800) of the participants in the trials were female. They found that all types of physical activity were effective for improving sleep in all populations studied.

Why is this Great News?

ALL types of physical activity were effective for improving sleep in ALL populations. This means there are no rules. You can move your body any way you choose.

  • Love running? Great! Go for a run. You’ll sleep better.
  • Is strenuous housework or gardening your jam? Fantastic! Do more of it.

In this blog post, I share 3 exercises that you can do anytime, anywhere to get started. Will doing these exercises have you sleeping for hours? Maybe. It will depend on your current fitness level and how hard you work to complete the exercises.

How Much Movement? 

John Hopkins Medicine recommends  30 minutes of aerobic activity to optimize sleep. That could be walking, running, cycling, swimming, or something similar. But you don’t have to stop there. What you’re looking for is any activity that gets your heart rate into the aerobic zone for 30 minutes.

What’s the aerobic zone? 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. You can use this calculator to see where you should be. You’re targeting the “intermediate” zone.

Another way to think of this aerobic range is that you should be able to speak in short 2-4 word sentences.

So that would sound (breath) something like this (breath) if you were walking (breath) or running fast (breath) enough to get (breath) into the zone.

Even in Menopause

During menopause and perimenopause, everything changes. Between the hot flashes, day-to-day stresses of being a woman in your 40s or 50s, and the wine that gets you through it all, great sleep may seem like a dream. The great news is that exercise helps with sleep, even during this time (not to mention so many other menopausal symptoms).

A multi-national meta-analysis of 17 studies involving over 2,400 women, published in 2023, using a range of exercises from yoga to running, concluded, "Exercise interventions can be recommended for menopausal women to improve their sleep."

This is why any kind of movement works.

  • Lifting weights can get you into this zone when you’re lifting, then you’ll rest until your heart rate comes down, then lift again.
  • If yoga is your thing, do a flow that gets your heart rate up, followed by longer stretches and your cool-down.

You don’t have to do this all at once, either. You can get your heart rate up in shorter bouts multiple times throughout the day. Ten minutes three times a day will count as much as one 30-minute bout of movement. In some ways, moving throughout the day is more beneficial than a single 30-minute workout (I’ll save that for another blog post).

In the meantime, if your sleep isn’t great, start moving your body during the day. Get your heart rate into the aerobic training zone for 30 minutes and enjoy the benefits of a body well used.

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Check out VIP Coaching with The Women's Wellness Academy to maximize your sleep, movement, and nutrition. We build strong healthy women from the inside out. 




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