7 exercises to beat insomnia and get better sleep

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder where a person may find it difficult to fall asleep. Here are 7 exercises for insomnia to help you sleep faster and better.
exercises for insomnia
These exercises can help improve your sleep cycle! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 31 Mar 2024, 20:04 pm IST
  • 207
Inputs from

Do you often find yourself staring at the ceiling at night, waiting to sleep? If this happens daily, you may have insomnia, a sleep disorder that causes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This often leads to fatigue, irritability, and mental unrest. If left untreated, it can impair memory and concentration. Moreover, chronic insomnia heightens the risk of various health issues, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. So, if you have this disorder, here are a few exercises for insomnia to improve your sleep quality.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says insomnia can be severe and cause long-lasting effects. Hence, it is better to check with your doctor for timely treatment. Moreover, you can also consider performing these exercises to improve your sleep cycle.

7 exercises for insomnia to improve sleep pattern

Engaging in physical activity regularly can help improve sleep patterns and avoid problems such as insomnia, found a study published in the journal Cureus. Here are the benefits of doing exercises for insomnia:

1. Cardiovascular workouts

According to the Sleep Foundation, cardiovascular or aerobic exercises can improve sleep quality and reduce excessive daytime sleepiness for people with insomnia. In fact, moderate-intensity aerobic activities can decrease the severity of sleep-disordered breathing conditions like obstructive sleep apnea. You may engage in aerobic activities such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling earlier in the day to sleep better at night. Fitness expert Chitharesh Natesan advises 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise most days of the week to reap the sleep-inducing benefits.

Also Read: These golden diet rules will help you sleep better and beat insomnia

2. Yoga

Engaging in gentle yoga poses before bedtime can relax both the body and mind, making it easier to sleep. A study conducted by the Indian Journal Of Psychiatry found that after 6 weeks of yoga practice, 57 participants who had insomnia noticed a significant reduction in sleep disturbance. Incorporate poses such as the child’s pose, legs up the wall, forward fold, and corpse pose to release tension and promote relaxation.

yoga pose balasana
Yoga has many health benefits for the mind and body. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Strength training

Incorporating strength training exercises into your daily fitness routine can improve sleep quality and duration. “Resistance exercises, such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises, help to build muscle mass and balances hormones, both of which are conducive to restful sleep,” says Natesan. Perform strength training exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses at least two to three times a week, allowing your body to recover between sessions.

Also read: Is it sleep apnea or insomnia? Know the difference

4. Tai Chi

Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art known for its slow and deliberate movements, can be beneficial for improving sleep quality. It is a mind-body practice that promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and enhances overall well-being, all of which contribute to better sleep. A study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health also finds that Tai Chi exercises have a positive effect on people with insomnia and help relieve depression and anxiety symptoms.

5. Pilates

Pilates focuses on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness through controlled movements and breathing techniques. “The controlled movements and emphasis on proper alignment help release tension, calm the nervous system, and prepare the body for restorative sleep,” explains Natesan. You can perform exercises such as shoulder bridge, lateral flexion, spinal rotation, and more.

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.

Including Pilates in your exercise plan is great for your health! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Stretching exercises

Incorporating a stretching routine into your daily fitness workout can work wonders for alleviating insomnia. Stretching helps release tight muscles, improve circulation, and promote relaxation, all of which are essential for achieving restful sleep. Focus on targeting major muscle groups, such as the hamstrings, hips, and shoulders, holding each stretch for 15–30 seconds to reap the benefits.

7. Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness practice, such as deep breathing and meditation, promote relaxation, reduce stress, and promote a sense of inner peace, which is important for a better sleep cycle. A study published by HHS Public Access also suggests that mindfulness meditation may improve sleep pattern and reduce the risk of sleep-related problems such as insomnia.

How to improve the sleep cycle?

In addition to these exercises, follow these 7 tips to enhance sleep quality and duration:

1. Set your sleep schedules, go to bed, and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. It will help regulate your body’s internal clock and promote a more consistent sleep-wake cycle.
2. Engage in calming activities such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practising relaxation techniques before bedtime to signal your body that it’s time to unwind and prepare for sleep.

Also read: Suffering from insomnia? Try these 6 Ayurveda tips to improve sleep naturally

3. Minimise exposure to electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted from these devices can disrupt melatonin production and interfere with sleep.
4. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by ensuring it’s dark, quiet, and cool.
5. Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol in the hours leading up to bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep quality and disrupt your sleep cycle.
6. Incorporate stress-reducing activities such as deep breathing exercises, light stretching, or journaling to alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation before bedtime.
7. While short daytime naps can be beneficial, avoid napping for extended periods or late in the afternoon, as they can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.

Keep these exercises and tips in mind to improve your insomnia!

  • 207
About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

Next Story