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Do This Workout In The Morning If You Want To Sleep Better At Night

Sarah Regan
Author:
December 14, 2022
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Sweaty Woman Post Workout
Image by Javier Díez / Stocksy
December 14, 2022
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Looking for high-quality sleep? Moving your body during the day is a surefire way to get more of it. Any while exercising in general is a well-known way to improve sleep, the timing of your workout can play a role, too. Here's what to know, according to experts, plus a quick fitness routine you can do that doubles as a tool for achieving the sleep of your dreams.

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Why work out in the morning?

How well we sleep largely revolves around our circadian rhythm, aka your body's internal clock that regulates when we feel sleepy versus alert. If you want quality sleep, you'll need to get your circadian rhythm, well, in a rhythm.

And according to licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Sleep Prescription Aric Prather, Ph.D., exercising at the same time every day is one of the best ways to do that. "[Physical activity] has been shown to be effective in maintaining people's circadian rhythms, [and] doing physical activity, ideally, around the same time each day, will train your rhythm [and] allow you to make it more predictable for your body," Prather explains on an episode of the mindbodygreen podcast.

Exercising (particularly, intense exercise that raises your core body temperature) within two hours of bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep for some people. This makes the morning a prime time to get a workout in—especially if you're able to do it outside.

This way, you'll get morning light, which will help train your circadian rhythm, and you'll get some energy to carry with you into the rest of your day. Even the ancient tradition of Ayurveda has long taught that exercise is best between 6 and 10 a.m.

Of course, if your schedule doesn't allow for morning workouts, any movement is certainly better than none—just try to do it a few hours before your planned bedtime.

And in terms of what kind of workout to do, any exercise that you enjoy and keep up with is a great start. But if you're looking specifically to promote sleep, one 2011 study published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that engaging in regular moderate aerobic exercise1 (zone 2 cardio) like slowly jogging or riding a bike improved sleep quality and reduced the time it took participants to fall asleep. Participants also reported feeling more rested in the morning.

So, make the most of your mornings with some good old-fashioned cardio! And if you're looking for inspiration, check out our beginner's guide to running, take your treadmill out for a spin with this sequence, or do the following cardio training set you can squeeze into the busiest of mornings.

A 10-minute cardio routine to squeeze into your morning:

1.

Jump squat with heel click

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  1. Start in a narrow squat position (toes at 11 and 1 on an imaginary clock, knees over heels, tailbone back, core engaged, and shoulders soft).
  2. At the bottom of the squat, squeeze your glutes, press into your heels, then roll through your feet and propel upward off your toes. At the top of your jump, click your heels together in midair.
  3. Land softly on your feet, then use the momentum from landing to move into your next squat. That's one rep. 
  4. Continue for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
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2.

Mountain climbers

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  1. Start in a plank pose, with shoulders over wrists. Pull waist in, drag shoulder blades down the back, and engage the core.
  2. Fire up the belly by pulling one knee in, then the other. That's one rep.
  3. Continue for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
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3.

Curtsy lunge to squat

  1. Start in a standing position. Bring your feet out wider than hip-distance apart, with toes pointed at 11 and 1.
  2. Lift one knee up next to your body, then cross that leg behind your opposite leg.
  3. Press your back toes into the ground, and bend your knees. Send your hips back, tailbone up, waist in, and shoulders down.
  4. Lift your back knee back up, place your foot back down into a squat position, then lower down into a squat.
  5. At the top of your squat, lift the opposite knee up and repeat on the other side. That's one rep. 
  6. Continue for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
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4.

High knees

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  1. Bring your arms out in front of you. Bend your elbows, and stack one hand on top of the other. Feel your shoulders drop down.
  2. Drive your knee up to your hands, then switch knees. Engage your core to pull the knees up. Quickly alternate bringing one knee up, then the other.
  3. Continue for 1 minute.
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5.

Ski jump

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  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Jump up slightly and turn 45 degrees to the right. Hinge at your hips and shoot the glutes back. Keep your knees over your heels.
  3. Then jump in the opposite direction and repeat.
  4. Move as fast or slow as you prefer.
  5. Continue for 1 minute.
6.

Modified burpee

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  1. From a standing position, plant your hands on the mat and step your feet back into a plank.
  2. Then, step your left foot up to your hand, then your right foot.
  3. Come up to standing, squeezing your glutes and abs at the top.
  4. Bring your hands down, step back into your plank, and repeat the movement.
  5. Continue for 1 minute.
7.

Skaters

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  1. Start in a standing position. Bring your feet hip-width distance apart and parallel. Stand to one side. 
  2. Push into one foot, driving deeply into all four corners. Gently, leap to the other side of your mat and land softly on the opposite foot.
  3. Reverse the movement, and repeat on the opposite side. Start slowly to find your footing. Once you feel confident about your balance, you can opt to move faster, for a speed-skater exercise. 
  4. Continue for 2 minutes.
8.

Standing side bend

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  1. Start in a standing position. Drop your tailbone down, and knit your ribs closed.
  2. Bend your arms, and bring your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows and collarbone wide.
  3. Feel your body stretch up, and then bend to the side. Repeat on the opposite side.
  4. Continue for 1 minute.

The takeaway.

Achieving quality sleep starts with the foundational pillars of our well-being, like nutrition, exercise, and a regular routine to support our circadian rhythms. These factors, especially when paired with a high-quality sleep supplement, can make getting the sleep of your dreams a reality.

Sarah Regan
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.