Sleeping troubles are by far the worst troubles anyone could possibly face. I’m sure you’ve tried it all; meditation, reading, or simply climbing into bed at an earlier time in the hope of (finally) catching some restful shut-eye. But maybe you’ve been neglecting one, slightly more simple strategy: exercise. The thing is, the workouts that help you sleep are the ones that will either totally tucker you out, or help relax you, and it all depends on what time of the day you do them.
Lauren Schramm, a private trainer based in New York City, says that “Sleep is always more important for the body than getting in a workout. So if your alarm goes off at 6 a.m. for your SoulCycle class, and you feel like you could hit snooze until 12 p.m., skip it and get some rest!” However, wanting to sleep in shouldn’t be an excuse to not exercise at all, it’s just maybe in that moment your body is in need of something else. There will still be plenty of hours in the day to get a light exercise in. Schramm says that a high-intensity workout during the day is great for expending energy, and it’ll get you nice and tired for when it’s finally time to snooze. Here are her recommended strategies that will definitely have you exhausted by bedtime.
Morning Run or Jog:
If you’re the type of person who prefers to go for a morning run or jog then this exercise is perfect for you. After you complete your cardio take a short break, then try to find a park bench. Once you’ve found one, begin trying three rounds of this timed workout Schramm has designed.
Schramm recommends completing these workouts back to back, taking one-minute breaks in between rounds.
The Tabata method is 20 seconds of all-out work, and then 10 seconds of rest for typically ten minutes. The shortest version of this is only four minutes; it’s a great option because you can do this with any cardio or strength-based exercises that you know.
You should note that the best time to do these exercises is in the morning or early afternoon. Schramm says it is crucial to eat within an hour after you complete your workout, and it’s best to stop all food consumption around three hours before bed. This way, you can be finished with the digestion process at the right point in your day, and your body has the time and energy to focus on getting to bed and winding down.
Restorative Butterfly Pose:
If you’re in the mood to do a little light movement right before bed to really ease your body into dreamland, Schramm recommends getting into child’s pose then lying on your back for a spinal twist on each side, followed by a reclined, restorative butterfly pose.
When you’re all done with those lovely and relaxing stretches, straighten out your legs, Schramm says, and just rest. Keep your eyes closed, and focus on slowing your breathing to even. Start breathing on four to six count inhales and exhales, and transfer your breath all the way deep inside your belly. Notice the sensations in your body as your heart rate and thoughts start to slow down. Before you know it, you might just pass right out.