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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.

More by this author

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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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