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Exercise and sunlight for better sleep

Do you want to sleep better? Research shows that greater global levels of physical activity and sun exposure are key.

The recipe for better sleep is simple: Exercise and make sure you enjoy sunlight throughout the day. A study, through the monitoring of 244 subjects between 14 and 86 yearshas concluded that the keys to getting sleep are the enhancement of habits that we already recognize as healthy.

Our body works like a clock, never better to say. Experts know it as “circadian system“, the one that regulates our sleep in sync with day and night or, what is the same, depending on the light.

Thus, our brain secretes or inhibits the melatonin on the basis of this. This hormone is responsible, among other things, for promoting sleep.

How can we ensure the proper secretion of melatonin?

Regularity and quality of sleep: what to do and when to do it

Several investigations have shown that for an adequate nocturnal melatonin secretion it is not only essential to respect the darkness during the night, but also to exercise or be exposed to sunlight, especially during early hours of the morningwhen his “synchronizing effect” is more powerful.

Now the novelty is that these habits are essential for the regularity in the sleep-wake rhythm and the quality of rest.

Furthermore, it is proven that the greater the amount of time in state sedentary, the worse will be the depth of sleep and therefore rest.

sleep better
EFE/ Ricardo Segura

This is what the study led by researchers from the Chronobiology Laboratory of the University of Murciawhich has been awarded at the last congress of the Spanish Sleep Society.

But the results go further: they come into play timetable of the aforementioned habits.

Between nine and eleven o’clock at night… watch out for the light

According to research, the highest levels of physical activity in two hours immediately upon awakening they are associated with sleep schedules better synchronized with the environmental light-dark cycle.

In contrast, the larger the activity levels and of exposure to artificial light between the 21:00 hours and 23:00 hoursmore is they would delay sleep schedules.

the doctor Beatriz Rodríguez Morilla, member of the Chronobiology working group of the Spanish Sleep Society (SES)explains that empowering relatively simple habits to modify within the normal development of daily activities can have very powerful effects.

“Our results confirm the relationship between certain healthy habits from a circadian point of view, with certain indicators of circadian health and sleep quality in a large population sample, encouraging the enhancement of habits as part of possible personalized non-pharmacological interventions” , indicates the expert.

Positive effects of physical exercise

Among the positive effects of exercise, Dr. Rodríguez Morilla points out:

  • Better mood
  • Reduction of symptoms of anxiety and stress

Benefits that, by themselves, improve the quality of sleep.

“Being active during the day increases the contrast between our rhythms between day and night, which works as an excellent synchronizing signal for our circadian system,” says the researcher.

The doctor recommends, whenever you can choose, to do this exercise for in the morning or early afternoon.

And the fact is that the activation generated by exercise takes time to fade, so doing it in the last hours of the day can make it difficult or delay sleep.

Other factors to consider for better sleep

Lifestyle greatly affects the quality of sleep. Habits like the following can condition our rest:

  • Hyperproductivity
  • Multitasking
  • Digital hyperconnection
  • Overstimulation by networks or media

On the other hand, in the case of digital devicesit is especially important to know that the amount of blue light that screens emit is associated with the suppression of melatonin.

For all this, the SES expert emphasizes disconnect the last hours of the day with everything to do with work, obligations, worries or activities that stimulate us too much.

Because if it doesn’t, sleeping better won’t be an option.

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