Don’t sleep on this: Exercise for healthier sleep

As I write this post, the Pacific Northwest is blanketed by a fog of hazardous wildfire smoke. It’s one more stress layered onto an already maximally anxiety-producing year.

After abandoning my usual exercise routine for a week to protect my lungs, I realized that no indoor exercise on top of no opportunity for a run or even a longer walk outside was contributing to some bad nights of sleep, and some overall bad feelings about… a lot of things. I got back to working out, and after just one day I saw a significant, positive improvement in my sleep: less waking, a longer period of deep sleep, and a longer sleep duration over all.

Talk to your doctor about starting any new physical activity. If you’ve been away from exercise for a while, if you’re thinking of taking up a new type of exercise, or if you’re not sure what’s safe for you due to wildfire smoke, recent illness or other reasons, check in with your doctor first.

If you don’t have health insurance or can’t afford an office visit, you can find a low-cost healthcare clinic near you here.

DISCLAIMER

My favorite online fitness site right now is Fitness Blender, which offers a huge variety of workouts and a science-based approach to fitness that helps me feel like I’m in good hands. You can see any of their workout videos free on their website, and they offer workout programs that are designed to suit different needs and goals.

If yoga’s your thing, Well+Good offers tons of yoga videos, featuring a variety of trainers and intensities– hello, gentle yoga. You can also sign up for Well+Good’s newsletter here to see when new yoga videos and other healthy content are published (I may earn a small commission or other perk if you sign up using my referral link).

Does exercise help you get a healthy night’s sleep? Do you have a favorite yoga routine that helps you relax?