It may not be a surprise to find that new research suggests that as little as 30 minutes of even moderate activity a day can help you to sleep better at night. However this same study shows that you might not want to do this activity at night as the energizing effects of the exercise may prevent you from sleeping. Getting your exercise in at east three hours before your rest for the night is the best bet for increasing the effectiveness of your sleep patterns. Whether it is as simple as walking or swimming, or exercising with weights or more physical training, simply getting your body moving is the key.
For more information on physical activity for older adults, you can download these helpful guidelines from the Health Department for ideas to get you started: health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf.
Another way to increase the effectiveness of your sleep is to relax at night before you retire for the evening. An hour or so before your bed time is a great time for more gentle activities such as yoga, stretching, or even a simple deep breathing exercise for as little as a few minutes, can all help to relax your body. Establishing a bedtime routine can also be beneficial to your long term sleep habits. Michael Rogers, an exercise scientist and the clinical director at the Center for Physical Activity and Aging at Wichita State says “It could be taking a bath, reading, listening to soft music. I have even heard of people doing their diary entries before they go to bed.”