Exercises That Naturally Fight Insomnia
For years, I’ve suffered from insomnia. My problem isn’t staying asleep – it’s falling asleep. There’s just too much going on in my head. I’ve tried just about everything under the sun to “fix it”, from natural remedies to hard-core prescriptions. I really wanted to naturally fight insomnia, but natural remedies did nothing. Prescriptions worked – but then I couldn’t wake up.
Also, the problem with taking prescriptions to sleep is that sometimes you NEED to get up in the middle of the night. If there was ever a family emergency, I couldn’t drive to a hospital under the influence of sleeping pills. And how deep is the sleep? I wondered if someone broke into the house, would I hear them? What if my daughter fell down the stairs or something? Would I know? It’s pretty scary. And we won’t even get into the memory loss. Ambien-nesia is a very real thing.
Finally, I found the one thing that works well. Wearing my body out so that it falls asleep faster than my brain.
It’s not easy with a desk job, but keeping our bodies active throughout the day is important. On days that I spend a lot of time on the treadmill or a lot of time outside, I’m too exhausted to stay awake. There’s a reason you never heard about your grandparents having insomnia. They wore themselves out. There was no Ambien in the early 1900s…there was hard work. As the years have gone by and people have become more sedentary, insomnia has become a bigger problem.
Don’t go out and run a mile before you climb into bed tonight, though. Running a mile before trying to fall asleep is probably not a good idea! For some, it’s energizing and can make insomnia worse. For most people, walking is a much better option. A nice walk around the block after dinner is a great way to end the day. Bonus points if you do it with your spouse or kids (or maybe not your kids if the point of the walk is to relax!) If you don’t live somewhere that’s possible, a walk on the treadmill can have the same effect. You have to find that sweet spot between working yourself up and settling down.
Swimming is another form of exercise that can naturally fight insomnia. Swimming will wear you out FAST because it uses all of your muscles, but has a relaxing component that other forms of exercise don’t. When you’re done with a few laps, simply relax on a float for a few minutes to give yourself that extra little bit of ahhhhhhhh….
Last, but certainly not least, try yoga. The stretches work and relax your muscles while controlled breathing relaxes your body. If you’re not currently practicing yoga, I highly recommend taking a class. Even if it doesn’t help you naturally fight insomnia, it may become your new favorite way to work out. You don’t have to go to a yoga studio if you don’t want to – you can get the same results at home with a DVD in your pajamas. Yoga also helps with stress management, weight loss, and general flexibility. It’s an all-around great thing for your body.
The takeaway here is that if you’re suffering from insomnia, try wearing yourself out during the day and finding a relaxing activity for the evening. You may never have another sleepless night!
(Also, there’s wine…wine works too.)
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