Do These 5-Minute Exercises and You'll Sleep Like a Teenager
It's one of the great bummers in life that as you get older—and you find that you may have more time to get good sleep—it simply becomes harder to sleep. As you age, the part of your brain that regulates your internal clock changes, and your circadian rhythm may get disrupted. Also, your body produces less of the hormones associated with sleep.
But even if age isn't your number one sleep killer, it could be the stress associated with a busy life, or you're making the wrong lifestyle decisions—from diet to alcohol to less exercise—that are robbing you of your nightly eight hours. Whatever the case, sleep is something many Americans are struggling with, whether it's getting enough hours or the quality of it.
Now, there are many ways to improve your sleep, such as getting a good does of morning sunlight every day to maintain a regular circadian rhythm, taking supplements (magnesium, glycine, and l-theanine immediately come to mind), and turning off your electronics at least an hour before bed. However, there's one important activity you need to be doing in order to have good sleep: you need to push your body to exercise.
The best time to be working out would either be in the morning, or afternoon. We want to avoid training later in the evening because it stimulates the stress hormone cortisol and can cause you to stay awake later. Also, you want to train in such a way that you really challenge your body and push it hard to the limit.
Have you ever taken a dog to the beach and watched it run (and run and run) and splash in the waves for hours, only to come home later and then curl in the corner to sleep for 14 hours? I'm not going to ask you to do that, but it is important for your body to be just a little bit tuckered out. Consider it a bonus that the exercises I recommend—which are definitely not traditional cardio, but are rather weightlifting moves—won't require all-day exertion. In fact, they take only five minutes. These are all compound movements that use multiple major muscle groups and utilize a single weight-room staple: the barbell.
Here's how to do it: Pick a weight that's close to your 8-to-10 rep max, set a timer for 5 minutes, and try to knock out 50 reps. If you've done it right, you should barely finish by the end. (If you're not fit, tread gently, and use either just the bar for weight or use only your bodyweight.) So read on, and remember that you only lose if you don't snooze. And for more great workouts you should try now, don't miss The Secret Exercise Trick for Flatter Abs After 40.
Barbell Bench Press
Start by setting yourself up on the bench where your eyes are in line with the bar, feet are firmly planted and with a slight arch in your lower back. Grip the bar just outside width and unrack it using your lats.
Pull your shoulder blades back, take a breath and then lower the bar under control until it touches your chest. Once it touches, press the bar back up, flexing your chest and triceps to finish. And for more great workout advice, see why Science Says This Is the Single Best Abs Exercise You Can Do.
Barbell Bent Over Rows
Grab the bar with either a pronated (overhand) or supinated (underhand) grip just slightly outside of your shoulders and stand up straight. Keeping your core tight, hinge at your hips to where your body is at least a 45 degree angle while maintaining a neutral spine.
Drive your elbows towards your hips, squeezing your back hard, then straighten you arms full to get a full stretch in your shoulder blades before performing another rep.
Barbell Back Squat
Start by setting yourself up on the bar by getting under it and placing it on your upper back. Grip the bar outside of your shoulders and unrack it, taking two steps back. Keeping your chest tall and core tight, push your hips back and sit back onto your heels. Go down until your legs are parallel to the ground, then drive yourself up, flexing your quads, and glutes hard to finish.
Snatch Grip Deadlifts
Begin setting up by standing in front of the bar shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest tall and core tight, push your hips back and squat down to grip the bar just outside of your shoulders (pinky or ring finger on the ring of the bar is a good width).
Pull your lats in and get your upper back tight, then pick the bar up, squeezing your glutes to finish. Lower the bar down to the ground before performing another rep.
Remember: A hard strength training session or challenge can help make you sleep like a teenager. Try this 5 minute set and you'll be getting restful sleep at night! And for more life-changing exercise advice, see here for the Secret Exercise Tricks for Keeping Your Weight Down for Good.