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9 Exercises To Help You Sleep Better, Because Counting Sheep Sucks

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When you're scrolling through your phone after midnight, blear-eyed and exhausted but somehow still wired, one thing is clear: you can't sleep and it sucks. Not to mention, you know you'll feel like garbage the next day as you try to get by with no rest. If this sounds familiar, then you may want to look into a few exercises to help you sleep better.

In general, getting your heart pumping during the day will help you rest easier at night. Not to mention, almost any type of exercise will potentially help you rest easier. Whether you're into intense aerobic activities, gentle stretches, or even weightlifting, the odds are good that your favorite exercise can improve your sleep habits. The stress reduction benefits alone provided by regular exercise may be all you need to get some better shut-eye.

With that in mind, finding your ideal sleep-inducing workout may take a bit of trial and error. The time of day you exercise, as well as the types of workouts themselves, can affect your sleep habits. Maybe a late-night aerobics class leaves you feeling wired, but swimming a mile each morning has you fast asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. A little time and experimentation will help you find your ideal insomnia-busting workout.

1Walking

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You don't have to invest in a ton of equipment or training to reap these benefits from exercise. Simply walking may do wonders for your ability to sleep, according to the Sleep Foundation. Best of all: it's free.

2Cycling

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If you're looking for a low-impact aerobic activity, then bust out the bike. According to Sleep.org, biking may also provide the benefit of improved sleep. No room for a 10-speed? Try a spin class instead.

3Yoga

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If you've ever accidentally fallen asleep during the savasana pose, then you know practicing yoga can be seriously relaxing. Plus, there are plenty of yoga stretches you can do before bed to fall asleep faster, as explained by Shape. You're unlikely to get too wired from some gentle stretching.

4Weightlifting

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If you love to lift, then this is good news. According to New Better Health, even weightlifting may help you rest better. If nothing else, it can help your body feel tired.

5Swimming

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Sure, it's gentle on your joints. But the full-body workout you get from a good swim can't be overstated. As noted in Active Weekender, plenty of people have trouble with swimming because it makes them so tired. Why not put that quality to work for your bedtime routine?

6Dance

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Sometimes fun workouts are the best. And, as noted in Sleep Like the Dead, a fun activity like dancing can help improve your sleep as well. Not to mention, the best exercise is the one you're most likely to do. If the idea of an early morning run makes you cringe, but your local salsa dance scene is enticing, then by all mean grab your dancing shoes and go for it.

7Hiking

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Some people find hiking absolutely relaxing. After all, who can resist the calm and beauty of nature? What's more, if your hike leads to a camping trip, then it might help reset your internal clock, as explained by TIME. Sometimes a day or two in nature is all you need.  

8Exercise Classes

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Whatever your interests or abilities, there's an exercise class your sure to love. From step aerobics to Zumba, these different classes can provide the sort of exercise you need to sleep better later. Plus, it's always fun to work out in a big, energetic group.

9Tai Chi

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If you want to try the most relaxing form of movement, look no further than Tai Chi. As noted in No Sleepless Nights, a gentle Tai Chi session right before bed can help your brain power down for the evening. Plus, the gentle movements can help your body relax and get into sleep mode, too.