A regular exercise or movement routine can be very helpful in improving sleep. However, sporadic or unpredictable exercise can make sleep worse. This is especially true if you are occasionally doing rigorous exercise at night. This intense activity can cause the release of chemicals in the body that make you feel more awake and alert. That is great for your morning meeting but not for bedtime.
The best strategy when using exercise to improve sleep is to have a regular (3-5 times a week) exercise routine. This can be walking daily, attending fitness classes, gardening, biking or many other physical pursuits. The exercise or movement can be a quiet walk alone in nature or a wild dance aerobics class. The key is doing it regularly.
Timing is also an issue. If you struggle with sleep, it is best to do really active activities earlier in the day. You could try some relaxing stretches or walking in the evening.
Some great exercises for evening that may help you to feel relaxed and calm include Tai Chi and Yoga. Specifically, we recommend Yin Yoga, Gentle Yoga and Restorative Yoga.
Try the links below for free online classes designed specifically to promote positive sleep:
Try this beginner tai chi video to learn the basics: