Insomnia and Cardio Workouts
Let's start at the very beginning, we all have a good idea of what insomnia is. So what classifies a workout as a cardio workout? And, what is the connection between the 2? The following is really from my own experience and reading about how cardio workouts help insomnia.
Cardio is any exercise that elevates my heart rate and keeps it at a higher rate for an extended time. My respiratory system starts working harder as I breathe deeper and stronger. Cardio exercise can include swimming, running, cycling, walking, hula hoop, or even jumping rope.
To get my heart rate up and keep it up, I usually try and aim for 20 minutes at a time.
Why cardio workouts help insomnia
Cardio is hard work and taxing on the body. For me, it makes my body physically tired, which is helpful. Cardio workouts sometimes are also responsible for helping to stabilize and improve my mood. Heavens knows I can do with more of this!
If cardio workouts happen on a regular basis, you should already be heading for better sleep with exercise. While this might not get rid of your insomnia, it may go a long way to improving the quality of sleep you get.
Best time of day to work out
My favorite time to work out is first thing in the morning, get up and get it done, and then I start the day with a spring in my step. What I have noticed is that my body temperature is highly elevated after a workout. To fall asleep I need a cool core temperature to even think about trying to get some sleep. It takes my body about 3 hours to cool down after a good workout, cardio included. This differs from person to person. For me, mornings are best. They give me a boost for the day and after many nights of little sleep, this is often helpful.
I have tried to work out in the evenings after work, but this is problematic for me and actually makes my insomnia worse, which is not what I want at all. It simply takes me too long to come down from a workout.
Consistency is key
This is 1 of those things that I need to keep up with. Cardio workouts need to be a daily habit for them to be most effective. My body has learned to crave the outlet and the tired body at night almost becomes part of my sleep routine. With 5 to 6 days a week and a minimum of 20 minutes of consistent workouts with an elevated heart rate, I can definitely feel the difference.
I would love to hear from you! Do you find an improvement in your sleep when you included cardio workouts into your daily routine?
Please share your insomnia workout story or comment below.
Have you participated in our forums?
Join the conversation