Whatever's been keeping you awake at night—the neighbors, the price of gas, the thought that maybe pro wrestling is rigged—you can get a good night's sleep.
And you don't have to solve the world's problems. All you need to do is stretch. When a group of women did a simple stretching routine every day, they fell asleep more easily than nonstretchers. Why isn't clear, but who cares if you're out like a light? A basic yoga routine's probably perfect, but just stretching out the day's knots slowly and soothingly should do the trick.
If stretching is too subtle for you—or if you're going to do something physical, you want to torch some calories while you're at it—consider moderately intense exercise. But do it in the morning. Women who did a.m. workouts for a total of at least three hours and 45 minutes a week (about half an hour a day) also joined the better-sleep club.
But shorter morning workouts didn't help much. And women who worked out that much at night didn't see sleep benefits, though that's no surprise: Exercising within two hours of bedtime can leave you wide-eyed.
Another candidate for natural Ambien: tai chi. People who did an hour of tai chi three times a week for six months fell asleep about 18 minutes faster and slept almost an hour longer than a control group.
There's a bonus to all this zzz time: Better sleep not only makes you feel good but also reduces overeating, arterial aging and heart attack risk. So get moving and go to bed.
For more from the YOU Docs, visit RealAge.com.
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