Sleep health fixes

5 low-cost exercises to help you sleep better

A recent study by Sun Life showed that two in five adults are now struggling to sleep at night due to money worries; with those aged 50-plus worrying the most. Yoga can help! Light-to-moderate exercise during the day or early evening can increase sleep quality by reducing sleep onset (the time it takes to fall asleep) and decrease the amount of time you awake in bed during the night. Here, experts at Bed Kingdom ( have compiled a list of five cost-effective light exercises that may help you fall asleep easier this winter, leaving your finances and health in better shape too.

1. Yoga

Yoga is a gentle, effective way to wind down after a busy day, and practicing at night can help you relax before you go to bed so you can sleep better. Yoga can help you practice slow, controlled breathing which stimulates the vagus nerve. This nerve affects your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which controls your body’s rest function, making it easier to switch off. Yoga can also lower your heart rate and improve digestion as well, all qualities for a good night's sleep. All you need is a mat and a clear space in your home, preferably not in your bedroom. You’ll find lots of free videos to follow on the OM website.

2. Walking

With the cold, dark winter nights upon us, it’s tempting to stay indoors. However, going for a walk in the evening can help send you off to sleep, plus, it’s completely free. Walking can reduce stress and improve mental health, meaning it can help clear your mind of anxieties before you head to bed. If the cold weather seems unappealing, make a cup of chamomile tea to warm you up afterwards; the antioxidants in the tea will also calm the mind and help you sleep better.

3. Cycling

Like walking, going for a light cycle can improve sleep quality, burning calories and energy. It can also greatly improve lung health, which can help with any respiratory problems. You can also plan a route through a park or near the countryside; getting into an open space, away from the hustle and bustle of a city or a busy residential area can have huge improvements on mental wellbeing. Just make sure to wear reflective clothing and have lights on your bike if out in the dark.

4. Swimming

If you’re lucky enough to live near a local swimming pool, try going for a dip in the evenings to see if it improves your sleep quality. Many pools have membership deals to help with the cost. Swimming at night burns off energy and releases feel-good endorphins that reduce stress and provide a calming effect that helps you fall asleep. Light techniques, such as breaststroke, are an effective way to burn energy without overdoing it. Aim for 30 minutes a couple of nights a week, two to three hours before you head to sleep. Having a hot shower after can also help to relax the body, making it easier to drift off.

5. Aerobics

Aerobics is another cost-effective way to get some exercise. Regular aerobic exercise can improve sleep quality and reduce excessive daytime sleepiness for those who suffer from insomnia. Moderate aerobic activities can also decrease the severity of sleep-disordered breathing conditions like obstructive sleep apnoea. Again, there are hundreds of videos online for you to discover, ranging from 15 minutes to an hour. Just find an open space in your home and give it a try.

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.