Tips to balance exercise and sleep for healthy living
Good sleep and rested awakening is the basis of a productive and happy life. So it certainly should be everyone’s top priority. We all know it: no more caffeine after lunch, dark bedroom, no blue light for sleeping, and so on. But did you also know that your exercises determine for a large part how you sleep? And that you can influence that? Our body makes the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin in the evening so that we fall asleep and in the morning the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol to activate the brain and stimulate to wake up alert and fit.
The sleep of the toddler is also very important. A toddler needs 12 to 14 hours of sleep for themselves, but also for you and the other family members. Usually, this goes well. Yet many parents also know periods when sleeping for their child are not going smoothly because persistent sleep problems can have a major impact on the family, many parents about concerns.
You do not have to panic immediately. As soon as your child sleeps enough and qualitatively, it will function optimally quickly.
Total muscle relaxation
Unnoticed, we build up tension in our body during the day. Do not take that tension into your bed! There is a simple exercise that helps to relax your muscles.
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You follow all the muscles in your body, while you span and relax every muscle for a few seconds. You start with your right foot: tighten, hold the tension for a few seconds and relax. Then you go to your left foot and you do the same to your leg muscles, your stomach, your buttocks, your chest muscles, your shoulder, your neck, your arms and hands and finally your facial muscles. If you make a daily sleep ritual, the tension-relaxation exercise has the most effect.
Turn the film back
Do you know the phenomenon that you are in bed and everything that you have done that day is reviewed? It seems that you cannot stop thinking. There is an easy exercise for that.
While you are calm, you take the day again, but then backwards. You start with what you did before you stepped into the bed, undressing, washing, brushing your teeth. Then you think about what you did before, watching television. That way you go back in time as if you were watching a movie of your day. It is important that you do not think deeply about it. As you do this exercise, your mind comes to rest. Okay, it might be a bit boring, but that’s great, is not it? Sleeping is what we want!
Do not count sheep, do breathe
Do you recognize this? You lie in bed and feel that your heart beats your throat? Stress! It does not feel good and you might even get a bit panicky about it. Fortunately, you can take control back with an easy exercise.
Lie on your back and breathe in and out as deeply as possible. In the beginning, you may have to fight against the urge to breathe very quickly. It then helps to count. One, two, three count in, hold for one second and then again: one, two, and three. Force yourself to breathe in a fixed rhythm and try to build up the count. When you are at rest, five breaths per minute are a good guideline.
Use your nose
Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Then put your right hand gently over your nose: support your index finger and your middle finger just above your nose. Now press your right thumb gently against the nasal bone of your right nostril. Breathe deeply and slowly through your left nostril, as long as you can. Hold your breath for a few seconds. Then close your left nostril with your ring finger, release the thumb on your right nostril and exhale. The inhalation lasts as long as the exhalation if you succeed. Eight counts is a beautiful goal.
Let that worry loose
Worrying is perhaps the biggest cause of death for our sleep. What helps is an exercise where you send your thoughts to a place that makes you calm.
Lie down in an attitude that you find most comfortable. Now take a picture that you like- A flaming fire, a sunset, or a waterfall for example. You can also choose a place where you would prefer to be. For a while now try to think only about that image and concentrate on it. Your thoughts will wander. That is not bad, name the thought without connecting an emotion and return to that beautiful picture. Maybe you only keep it for a few seconds; your mind is probably still very active. But as you practice, you will remain focused undisturbed longer and longer on the image that gives you relaxation. Enjoy that rest in your head.