You know that regular stretching and exercise are good for you, but did you know they could help you sleep better during and after menopause? There’s one caveat: You may need to squeeze your routine into the first half of your day to improve your snooze at night.
Do you ever have trouble falling asleep at night? Many women do, especially after menopause, when newly altered hormone levels may still be wreaking havoc on your body. There’s good news, though: A study conducted by Dr. Shelley Tworoger and her colleagues at the University of Washington School of Medicine could possibly provide a remedy for that problem. Held over the course of a year, participants were placed on a moderate-intensity exercise program to determine the sleep-related effects of both exercise and stretching on overweight, sedentary 50- to 75-year-old women.
Though they suspected that exercise would yield better results than stretching, the researchers were surprised. As it turns out, both exercise and stretching provide equally beneficial results when it comes to having an easier experience falling asleep at night! However, those benefits depend on how much you do and what time of day you do it.
For the best results, researchers found that it’s best to work your body for 3 ½ hours per week, or about 30 minutes per day. And as for when works best? Making time in the a.m. or early afternoon seemed to be the ticket for a smoother time dozing off. However, for those who have trouble staying asleep, and perhaps don’t work on an early morning schedule, here’s a finding worth noting: While test subjects who exercised in the evening did not have an easier time falling asleep, they did sleep for more hours uninterrupted!
A brisk walk may be an easy way to improve your chances of catching a few z’s later on. Recruit a friend to join you, or listen to your favorite music or a book on tape to make the process fun and easier to stick with. If you’re going in the morning, prepare your workout gear the night before so that when your alarm goes off in the a.m., you can throw on your sneakers and dash!
Of course, on an overall note, many studies have found that people who are in good shape sleep easier and better than people who are not. So, it’s always a good idea to take good care of your body.
If you and your partner could both use a little more exercise and a little more shut eye, use this study as a chance to get closer to each other! Make exercise a part of your routine. Here are some ideas that could help build your relationship, your muscles, and get you a little extra sleep at night!
Take a Hike: Stock your backpack with high-protein snacks, a map, and plenty of water and hike a trail with your sweetie. There’s something both relaxing and exciting about seeing the great outdoors together. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, check out local camping spots and make a romantic, all-night excursion of it!
Join a Class: Go to a nearby studio and sign up for a yoga or Pilates class together. You’ll both be sure to work up a sweat, stretch your muscles, and tap into that inner Zen. Who knows? Maybe all that leaning, stretching, and deep breathing will get you in the mood to go home and try other exercises.
The Ultimate Anytime Workout: Have sex! It feels great, releases mood-boosting endorphins, burns a ton of calories, and leaves you both feeling emotionally blissful and physically exhausted! What’s not to love about that?
Whatever you decide to do, do it with vigor, and have fun with it! There are so many different ways to get in a good workout. Seriously, there’s something out there for everybody. With a little creativity and schedule shuffling, you’ll be snoozing like a baby in no time.
Source: Dr. Laura Berman