Sleep and Exercise
Getting a good night’s rest is important for so many aspects of our lives including our overall sense of wellbeing. Much research has been done to investigate the relationship between exercise and sleep health, and studies have shown that if you exercise, your self-reported sleep quality is much improved.
Studies looking at the effect of exercise on sleep determined that acute exercise significantly improved a variety of sleep measures. Specifically, exercise increases total sleep time by decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep, enhancing the efficiency of sleep.
Three Ways Sleep Impacts Exercise Performance
- Boosts Mental Alertness- Without proper sleep, your mental alertness takes a hit. Sleep loss impairs your focus, memory, and judgment and learning capacity, so you’re not at your best mentally when you’re tired. Many sports require athletes to make split-second decisions, so if they’re off their game, it could have a major impact.
- Lowers Tension Levels, Increasing Game Success- Stress and tension can have a negative overall effect on athletes, leading to an unfavorable result. When you get a better night’s sleep, you can lower your tension level which in turn makes you more likely to function at peak performance
- Reduce Injury Rates- Quality sleep contributes to everything from a healthy immune system to increased alertness to muscle recovery. In a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports(2016) it was determined that athletes who got over 8 hours of sleep during weekdays reduced the odds of injury by 61%.
Try these natural sleep aids—
- Lavender Essential Oil: Lavender has been proven to be beneficial to both the quality and duration of sleep and improve general mental and physical health without the side effects of other sedatives.
- Chamomile Tea- Chamomile has an antioxidant called apigenin that is known to decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.
- Fenugreek- this ancient herb offers calming benefits to reduce your before-sleep stress levels. You can buy it as a juice online or in a health food store.
- Valerian Root- valerian is one of the most popular herbal sleep aids in Europe and the US and is available as a supplement in capsule or liquid form.