Make your UP time more UP, and your DOWN time gets more DOWN.
It is common for people to be so switched on mentally and consumed with the relentless cerebral tasks of work, meetings, and just generally running our lives, that despite having done extraordinarily little physically and feeling a profound fatigue, there yet remains trouble sleeping.
There is this constant low grade mental buzzing that creates a kind of background noise and mental static that prevents both slipping into a state of sleep and staying into a deep enough sleep for it to be truly restorative.
When your waking hours are spent in an appropriate amount of mental AND physical challenge, it is easier to slip into a deeper, more restorative sleep.
Many years ago I personally noticed the contrast in how I felt between days that are mentally active only (fortunately I have few of these) and days that are both mentally and physically active. Even on highly active mental days, if I got enough physical activity – and typically the more challenging the better – I slept more easily and more soundly.
Over the years, as continued research has further illuminated the importance of sleep and revealed the essential role that exercise plays in helping us rest more fully, it has become clear that when our wake time challenges only the mind and not the body our sleep suffers.
In the last few articles, I’ve been pumping up resistance training 😉 for its brain-health benefits through recent research showing just that. Everybody knows aerobic training is good for brain health and now resistance training is getting some credit.
And now comes sleep.
People who did combined resistance training fell asleep faster, slept longer, and woke up less at night compared to people who did aerobic training only and the sedentary control group. Sleep efficiency was improved only in the resistance training group. Sleep duration increased by 40 minutes in the resistance training-only group and by 23 minutes in the aerobic-only group. The data was from self-reported sleep questionnaires (rather than a sleep study) but it still is interesting to note the beneficial effects that challenging physical activity has on our sleep. See reference below and a tip of the cap to Max Lugavere for sharing this study in his e-newsletter.
Make your UP time truly UP (physically) and your DOWN time will be higher quality too.
American Heart Association. (2022, March 3). Resistance exercise may be superior to aerobic exercise for getting better ZZZs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 21, 2022 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/03/220303215826.htm