Making a resolution to take on an exercise and weight loss routine for the New Year is the number one resolution that people make. Did you know, though that your exercise routine can also help you get a better nights’ sleep? It’s true. Exercising not only helps you sleep at night but it helps you function better during the day. As with any program, you should check with your doctor first to see how to best develop an exercise program that will work best for you.

According to a report from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, you can improve insomnia symptoms with regular exercise. The report also found that moderate exercise helps reduce anxiety that can sometimes keeps you awake and interfere with sleep. The results of exercise help release tension and contribute to a drop in body temperature that can make it easier to fall asleep.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a strenuous undertaking – by simply adding 20 to 30 minutes a day of moderate activity you can not only shed a few pounds but get a better nights’ sleep. Add some walking into your daily routine, after dinner pack up the family and take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. If you simply don’t have time to spend 30 minutes a day walking or exercising, get your workouts in 10-minute bursts. Any exercise is good exercise.

The optimal time for exercising is three to six hours before your regularly scheduled bedtime. You don’t want to get your heart pumping too close to bedtime as that’s not conducive to a restful night. 

To reap the maximum benefits from the sleep-exercise connection choose a cardiovascular exercise such as: brisk walking, jumping rope, kickboxing, jogging, or riding a bike. Try to get exercise at least six days a week – your heart and your sleep rhythms will thank you.

If you’ve cleared it with your doctor, try to fit some strength training into your workouts – strength training helps build muscle, increases bone density and raises metabolism (this will help you keep burning fat even when you’re not actively exercising). Try to add  some light weight lifting into your exercise program – you can start by lifting half gallon milk jugs filled with equal amounts of water if you don’t want to invest in weights.  

Yoga, even though it’s known for its relaxation benefits, also helps to relieve tension and aches and pains. You can incorporate yoga stretching throughout your day as a way to relieve stress and a slow, gentle stretching program before bedtime is a great way to work the tensions of the day from your body – and your mind.

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900;