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9 Tips to Improve Sleep: Balancing Physical Activity and Restorative Sleep to Optimize Our Brains.



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9 Tips to Improve Sleep. How to integrate physical activity and healthy sleep practices for optimal cognitive function”

 

Blog Post Series 10: Sweat Smart - Supercharge the Brain Power


Here is our favorite time, Sleep. 9 tips to improve Sleep. Healthy brain needs quality of sleep. 




Dear readers,


 

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Imagine this: it's 7:30 PM, and you're powering through a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class. As an exercise warrior, you're pushing your limits, and your body responds by releasing a cocktail of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. By 9 PM, after a hearty post-workout meal, your body feels exhausted, but your mind is still racing. Fast forward to midnight, and you're in bed, restless and unable to drift off to sleep. Does this scenario sound familiar? While it's commendable to fit in a workout amidst a busy schedule, the consequence often comes in the form of sleepless nights.

 


This is a common conundrum many fitness enthusiasts face – balancing late-night exercise and dinners with the need for quality sleep. The next morning, we often pay the price with brain fog, fatigue, and even unwanted weight gain. So, how do we navigate this challenge? How can we maintain our fitness routine without compromising our sleep and overall well-being? Let's dive into some strategies to harmonize our exercise habits with our body's need for restful sleep.

 

 

In our relentless pursuit of health and wellness, sleep often takes a backseat, overshadowed by more active pursuits like diet and exercise. Yet, the silent guardian of our cognitive health, sleep, plays an indispensable role in maintaining and enhancing brain function. Intriguingly, the interplay between sleep and physical activity forms a harmonious cycle, where each element supports and amplifies the other.



A comprehensive narrative review by Sewell and colleagues, published in 'Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews' (2021), delves into this symbiotic relationship, revealing how regular exercise not only bolsters our cognitive abilities but also significantly improves the quality of our sleep. This insight opens a gateway to understanding how a balanced approach, intertwining physical activity with restorative sleep, can be a cornerstone in safeguarding our cognitive health.

 


In the quest for cognitive health and the prevention of diseases like Alzheimer's, the focus often falls predominantly on physical activity. However, an intriguing narrative review by Sewell, Erickson, Rainey-Smith, Peiffer, Sohrabi, and Brown, published in 'Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews' (2021), sheds light on another crucial piece of the puzzle: the relationship between physical activity, sleep, and cognitive function. This comprehensive review delves into how these elements interact and influence each other, offering insights into developing more effective strategies for cognitive health maintenance.

 


If you're an evening exerciser struggling to get quality sleep, here are some tailored recommendations to help improve your sleep cycle, 9 tips to improve sleep.

 


9 tips to improve Sleep. Healthy brain needs quality of sleep




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1. Mind the Timing of Your Workouts:


   - Aim to finish high-intensity workouts like HIIT at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. This allows your body temperature, heart rate, and adrenaline levels to return to levels conducive to sleep.


   - If exercising late is your only option, consider switching to less intense activities like yoga or light stretching in the evening.


 

2. Establish a Post-Workout Wind-Down Routine:


   - Develop a relaxing routine after your workout. This could include a warm shower, which helps to lower your body temperature, signaling to your body that it’s time to wind down.


   - Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to transition your body into a state of rest.


 

3. Watch Your Diet Post-Exercise:


   - Avoid heavy, spicy, or high-fat meals after evening workouts as they can cause discomfort and indigestion, making it harder to fall asleep.


   - Opt for a light, well-balanced meal that includes a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates to aid muscle recovery without overstimulating your digestive system.


 

4. Stay Hydrated, But Be Mindful:


   - Hydration is crucial after a workout, but try to limit fluid intake an hour before bed to reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom.


   - Avoid caffeine and alcohol post-exercise as they can disrupt your sleep cycle.


 

5. Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment:


   - Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains, eye masks, or white noise machines to create an ideal sleeping environment.


   - Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that support a good night’s rest.


 

6. Limit Exposure to Screens:


   - Reduce screen time at least an hour before bed. The blue light emitted by phones, tablets, and computers can interfere with the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.


 

7. Consistent Sleep Schedule:


   - Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body’s internal clock.


 

8. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques:


   - Engage in calming activities like reading a book, listening to soft music, or practicing mindfulness meditation to prepare your mind for sleep.


 

9. Monitor Your Progress:


   - Keep a sleep diary to track your sleep quality. Note down your evening routines, including exercise times and types, to understand what works best for you.

 


Remember, individual responses to exercise can vary. It might take some experimentation to find the perfect balance between your evening workouts and quality sleep. Prioritizing both is essential for your overall health and well-being.

 



Conclusion:

 

The review by Sewell and colleagues provides compelling evidence for the intertwined relationship between physical activity, sleep, and cognitive function. It highlights the importance of not only staying active but also ensuring adequate and quality sleep as vital components of cognitive health. As research in this field continues to grow, it becomes increasingly clear that a holistic approach, encompassing both exercise and sleep, is essential for maintaining brain health and potentially delaying the onset of cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer's.

 



Here's to a fit body and a sharp mind, at any age! Sleep and recovery are very improtant to sustain us energized and alert. 🌟🧠💪


Health Coach Meg



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To conclude this insightful journey into enhancing both our physical and mental well-being, remember that taking the first step towards a healthier lifestyle can be both exciting and transformative. As your dedicated health coach, I am here to guide you in seamlessly integrating exercise routines that not only build your body but also enhance your brain function. Together, we can work on improving your sleep quality and making meaningful lifestyle modifications tailored to your unique needs.



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Don't let another moment slip by without taking action to boost your brain health and overall wellness. Reach out to us now, and embark on a journey towards embracing a new standard of fitness and mental agility that aligns beautifully with your age and lifestyle. Let's work together to make these crucial changes that will not just benefit you today, but also safeguard your health for the future. Contact us, and let's start this journey to a fitter, sharper you!

 

 

Next Blog Teaser:


Stay tuned for next blog about resilience, How exercise shields us from stress. 🧠💪🌙

 


References:

- Sewell, K.R., Erickson, K.I., Rainey-Smith, S.R., Peiffer, J.J., Sohrabi, H.R., Brown, B.M. (2021). Relationships between physical activity, sleep, and cognitive function: A narrative review. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 130:369-378. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.09.003. PMID: 34506842.

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