Waking up in the middle of the night

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The last couple of nights I have found myself waking up in the middle of the night.  I am sure you all know the feeling when you wake up and then lie there for what feels like hours until you drift back to sleep only to hear the alarm go off a few minutes later. So frustrating. My heart goes out to the people who have this happen nightly. For those of you who know me personally you know that I am a great sleeper, I get anywhere between 9 – 11 hours of sleep, and if I am under my 9 hours, I will find the time to take a siesta. I thank my college days in Espana for teaching me all too well about the prominent siesta.

I took it upon myself to research why we don’t sleep as sound or ways to improve our sleep.  I found out that working out will improve your sleep. I know we all know that exercise is so good for our bodies, our minds, and an overall healthy lifestyle, but I did not know how important it is for our sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 83% of aggressive exercisers said they sleep well compared to the 56% of people who are idle or nonexercisers. The director of the Sleep and Healthy Research Program at my alma mater, the University of Arizona, Dr. Grandner says, “Activity promotes healthy levels of many hormones and other chemicals in the body, which in turn may promote healthy sleep.”

So the next question is, when should you work out? Some studies show that exercise in the morning is optimal to increase overall energy, and then other researchers say working out too close to your bedtime will affect your sleep pattern. At the end of the day it varies from person to person and what is important is that we make the time for the exercise.  So when is your ideal workout time?



If you have the luxury of choosing between the morning or at night {that is awesome} look at how your body feels. Are you the early bird who likes the quiet time in the dawn and feels like you can take on the world after an early workout? Or are you a night owl who needs to sleep in and ease into your day? Then try working out in both the morning and the evening and see how your body feels and look at your sleep patterns. If you are wired at night after a vigorous workout, then chances are you need to add a cushion so you can make sure you can get your ZZZs.



According to Dr. Grandner, “people who do more than an hour of vigorous activity {the type that really really really, that is 3 reallys, makes you sweat} every day tend to report more sleep problems.”  So there can be too much of a good thing.  He suggests if this is the case then look at keeping your workouts to an hour or take it down a notch to moderate intensity.



People who get their physical activity from yoga are more likely to get quality sleep for 7-8 hours. It is known that yoga could improve strength, flexibility, mental health and yes it can even help with sleep. Yogis can calm their minds, and this ultimately calms the body. In today’s modern world we operate from a fight or flight response, and this can prevent our brains from turning off thus creating sleepless nights.

At the end of the day, I am not sure why I have been tossing and turning, but I am looking at it as a phase.  I hope you will get your exercise on and get those hormones pumping to complete your overall healthy lifestyle.  


Have more questions on sleep? Did you know getting 6 hours of sleep is really bad for you?


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