An inactive lifestyle can cause several physical and mental ailments that lead to the inability to sleep well, but there are things people can do to combat this.
The most recent government report on physical inactivity revealed that a quarter of UK adults (25%) were classed as ‘physically inactive’. The definition of this states that, over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week. This type of static lifestyle can lead to obesity, depression, diabetes as well as chronic pain.
Yorkshire-based bed retailer, Happy Beds, has teamed up with Katherine Hall, a sleep psychologist from Somnus Therapy, to provide tips to help those who aren’t leading active lifestyles. Here’s what she suggested:
- Start exercising
The easiest way to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle is to get moving! By incorporating physical activity and regular exercise into your daily routine, you’ll see instant results and a better night’s sleep. Not only will you be more tired at night after an active day, but you’ll sleep more deeply once you do drift off.
Also, your body releases endorphins when you exercise which promote relaxation, happiness and an improved mood; all of which ward off depression symptoms that may interfere with your sleep patterns.
And it doesn’t have to be intense exercise, simply reducing the amount of time spent sedentary by going for walks, and spending more time doing things such as gardening and DIY, will help.
2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness keeps growing in popularity and with good reason. It’s one of the best and easiest ways to prepare your mind and body for sleep. Mindfulness focuses on becoming intently aware of what you’re feeling and sensing at any given moment. This form of meditation is also associated with stress reduction and eases both depression and pain – two common side effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Take a few minutes each day to practice a simple mindfulness activity and utilise it before bed as a way to prepare for sleep.
3. Invest in an ergonomic work setup
Not everyone can ditch their sedentary lifestyle permanently – especially if your inactivity is caused by the type of work you do. If you have no choice but to sit at a desk all day then you need to create an ergonomically friendly space that promotes good posture. Invest in an ergonomic desk or table that lets you adjust the height and angle. Buy a chair that offers plenty of back and neck support. Avoid sitting in bed or on a soft surface for too long, as this makes it easier for you to slouch and strain your neck. You’d be surprised by how these small changes can make a big impact on your physical health and decrease pain, helping you sleep better.
4. Establish a schedule
For many static lifestyle, the best way to combat chronic immobility is to set a schedule and stick to it! Start your day off with a short mindfulness activity, 30 minutes of exercise, and a healthy breakfast. Try to do this at the same time each morning. Next, take a shower and get dressed. When getting to work, make sure it’s in a comfortable, supportive space. Schedule your lunch, dinner, and other important appointments. Doing this not only keeps you on task and organized but promotes feelings of control and confidence.
When it comes to sleep, our bodies respond well to routine and schedule. When you wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, your body becomes accustomed to this. This is known as a sleep schedule and it promotes a healthy circadian rhythm. Before long, you’ll find yourself waking up without an alarm and getting tired around the same time every night. This promotes deep, restorative sleep.
You can find out more about the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on sleep on the Happy Beds blog.