The Secret to Better Sleep? Diet and Exercise

If you’re feeling tired, unfocused, and generally frazzled, it might be time to rethink your sleep schedule. Even if you think you’re getting enough sleep each night, your sleep quality might be poor if you are overweight or living a sedentary lifestyle.

Girl peacefully sleeping in the morning before waking up

Your body heals and restores itself during restful sleep cycles, so it’s important to get plenty of rest. Fortunately, many sleep issues can be resolved through diet, exercise, and even natural supplements for better sleep.

Exercise for Better Sleep

Research suggests that aerobic exercise can help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep.1 You can experience these benefits without the need for strenuous exercise. A daily walk, hike, or yoga class could help you sleep better naturally.

Depending on your sensitivity to exercise, you might need to time your exercise appropriately. If exercising after work makes you too alert at bedtime, move your workout to the morning. A sunrise walk might be just the thing to start your day right!

Diet Tweaks for Better Sleep

While exercise may help you sleep soundly, the wrong diet can sabotage your slumber. Here are some dietary tips for better sleep:

close up shot of runner's shoes

  • Avoid large, heavy meals too close to bedtime.
  • Skip the alcohol—although it might make you feel sleepy, it interferes with sleep quality.
  • Caffeine junky? It might be time to cut back or at least limit your intake to morning hours only.
  • Have a light evening snack to avoid going to bed hungry.
  • Minimize your intake of spicy foods or other heartburn triggers.

Smart dietary adjustments and a steady exercise routine should also help you maintain a healthy weight. A recent study found that overweight adults spent less time in restorative sleep cycles than normal-weight adults.2

By developing healthy habits that help you optimize exercise, diet, and weight, you can expect to see a gradual improvement in sleep quality.

Nutritional Supplements for Restorative Sleep

In addition to lifestyle improvements, you might want to add natural supplements to aid with sleep quality. Two of the most researched and effective supplements are melatonin and valerian root.

  • Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps your body regulate its wake/sleep cycle. When taken within an hour of bedtime, melatonin supplements can help you fall asleep faster and may also improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Valerian root is an herbal supplement that produces a natural sedative effect. Valerian helps you fall asleep faster by promoting feelings of calm and relaxation.

At Forrest Health, we understand the importance of a good night’s sleep. Please browse our top choices for natural sleep supplements.

If you are struggling with insomnia or need help determining the right dosage of sleep supplements, please reach out to Dr. Forrest or our team. We would love to help guide you on the path to better sleep and better help.

Sources:

  1. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-sleep/sleep-better/exercising-for-better-sleep
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160610173612.htm

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