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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 March 13, 2019

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. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well 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. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

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, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which 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 a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up 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. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

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.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

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.

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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 end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

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

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

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.

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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 why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

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, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

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

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. 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. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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