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How Can Exercises Improve Our Sleeping Quality

How Can Exercises Improve Our Sleeping Quality

Some things just go together perfectly; peanut butter and jelly, movies and popcorn, and Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski. Another great combination is sleep and exercise. If you are treating your workouts right and being consistent it not only has a massive positive effect on your health and appearance but allows you to get better quality sleep each night.

What Benefits Does Exercise Actually Bring?

Well besides making you look good in those tight shorts, it goes far beyond just appearance. There’s a long list of benefits so here are some of the highlights:

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  • Increased muscle mass
  • Decreased body fat
  • Stronger bones
  • Tougher joints
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Improved mood
  • Improved strength and flexibility
  • Stronger immune system

And, as we’re talking about here today, better sleep. When you exercise you allow your body to move in the way it was designed and your body rewards you with not just the outward appearance but mood boosting chemicals that make you feel good and motivate you to continue.

Exercise also helps to regulate your circadian rhythm which is involved with controlling your sleep cycle. Exercise in the day can boost daytime alertness and then bring on sleepiness at night.

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When’s The Best Time Of Day To Exercise?

When it comes to exercise the best time of day to do it is the time where you are most likely to do it consistently. It may take some time to figure what sits best with you because the best exercise program is the one you are going to stick with.

I’ve exercised at all times of the day and found my sweet spot is around 11 am. I don’t know what it is about that time but it’s when I feel most motivated to go so I stick with it.

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If you’re looking for a specific time to start out with there may be something to early morning workouts as it pertains to your sleep. It may seem odd that what you do early in the morning can have an impact later that night but that early morning workout can help set your body clock properly.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center had looked into this issue and found women who exercised in the morning averaged 70% better sleep than those who did in the evening.

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If you are going to workout at night you don’t want it to be too intense as you may find it difficult to unwind as your body will still be pretty alert and wired after exercising. If you’re looking to do something later in the evening you’ll want something less intense such as walking or some yoga.

What Exercise Should You Be Doing?

This comes back to that consistency issue regarding the best time of day for you to exercise. The best workouts are the ones you will actually do. Ideally you want to find what appeals to you most and that you are more likely to stick with. I believe weight training is very important so I would try to incorporate that in but find what works best for you as it may be swimming, hiking, CrossFit, pilates, yoga, tennis, cinder block chopping or whatever!

The sweet spot for exercise appears to be around 150 minutes per week to improve cardiovascular and overall health so that would be 30 minutes a day Monday to Friday. You can do more but if you’re starting out this is a good place to begin. The focus now is to just get moving and you can get more detailed with things down the line.

So now you’re not only improving your health but enhancing your sleep every night. That’s a pretty win-win situation.

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on November 5, 2020

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. A rut can manifest as a productivity vacuum and be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. Is it possible to learn how to get out of a rut?

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, or a student, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on Small Tasks

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks that have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate positive momentum, which I bring forward to my work.

If you have a large long-term goal you can’t wait to get started on, break it down into smaller objectives first. This will help each piece feel manageable and help you feel like you’re moving closer to your goal.

You can learn more about goals vs objectives here.

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2. Take a Break From Your Work Desk

When you want to learn how to get out of a rut, get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the bathroom, walk around the office, or go out and get a snack. According to research, your productivity is best when you work for 50 minutes to an hour and then take a 15-20 minute break[1].

Your mind may be too bogged down and will need some airing. By walking away from your computer, you may create extra space for new ideas that were hiding behind high stress levels.

3. Upgrade Yourself

Take the down time to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Go to a seminar, read up on a subject of interest, or start learning a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college[2]. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a Friend

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while. Relying on a support system is a great way to work on self-care when you’re learning how to get out of a rut.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget About Trying to Be Perfect

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism can lead you to fear failure, which can ultimate hinder you even more if you’re trying to find motivation to work on something new.

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If you allow your perfectionism to fade, soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come, and then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

Learn more about How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up.

6. Paint a Vision to Work Towards

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the ultimate goal or vision you have for your life?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action. You can use the power of visualization or even create a vision board if you like to have something to physically remind you of your goals.

7. Read a Book (or Blog)

The things we read are like food for our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great material.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. You can also stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs and follow writers who inspire and motivate you. Find something that interests you and start reading.

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8. Have a Quick Nap

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep[3].

Try a nap if you want to get out of a rut

    One Harvard study found that “whether they took long naps or short naps, participants showed significant improvement on three of the four tests in the study’s cognitive-assessment battery”[4].

    9. Remember Why You Are Doing This

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall your inspiration, and perhaps even journal about it to make it feel more tangible.

    10. Find Some Competition

    When we are learning how to get out of a rut, there’s nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, and networking conventions can all inspire you to get a move on. However, don’t let this throw you back into your perfectionist tendencies or low self-esteem.

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    11. Go Exercise

    Since you are not making headway at work, you might as well spend the time getting into shape and increasing dopamine levels. Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, or whatever type of exercise helps you start to feel better.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

    If you need ideas for a quick workout, check out the video below:

    12. Take a Few Vacation Days

    If you are stuck in a rut, it’s usually a sign that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange one or two days to take off from work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax, do your favorite activities, and spend time with family members. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest.

    More Tips to Help You Get out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Ashkan Forouzani via unsplash.com

    Reference

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