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Will Fresh Air and Exercise Help Me Sleep?

By January 1, 2020April 1st, 2022No Comments

Will Fresh Air and Exercise Help Me Sleep? Simply ask Grandma and they will say of course!

In the winter months many of us retreat into our houses and stay there until the weather is warmer. OK, we might not be completely like hermits that never go out, but even many shops are ‘indoor experiences’ these days.  New houses are being built with smaller windows and more energy efficient saving ideals which mean we rarely open windows anymore. The air in our homes becomes stale, and that’s not very good for our family. Think back to the cooler houses of our grandparents or great grandparents who had robust immune systems!

According to the World Health Organisation, we spend around 90% of our time stuck indoors. Take a moment to look at your week. How often are you in the car or in a building?

Help And Advice Is Out There

Rachel Burrows from parenting site Netmums told HuffPost UK Parents: “Looking after young children can be tough, but when you’re sleep deprived and exhausted it can be a serious struggle

The end result of a sleepless night is the same: Your body has been deprived of an essential component for good health and energy, leaving our eyes a little less sparkly than we would like..

The problem with stale air

Stuffy air may cause the following:

  • colds spreading more easily
  • headaches
  • drowsiness
  • irritation
  • poor concentration

If anyone in your family is showing any of these symptoms, being stuck inside could be a contributing factor. Fortunately there’s a simple cure… Get into the countryside and fresh air.


The benefits of fresh air

There are lots of benefits to getting outside, but let’s just look at fresh air for the moment.

Here are some of the reported benefits of getting fresh air.

  • Fresh air can make you feel more energised
  • It can help you sleep better
  • It can help decongest you if you have a cold
  • It can relieve the symptoms of being shut inside with stuffy air
  • Negative ions can help restore your mood

getting outside in nature can make you

getting outside in nature can make people feel more alive

 

Parents with Newborns

The Journal of Environmental Psychology published a study that getting outside in nature can make people feel more alive, and as we all know, taking a baby for a walk outside will often send them to sleep.

sleep better at night after spending time outside

In fact, a study by Dr Yvonne Harrison showed that babies also sleep better at night after spending time outside. What works for babies probably works for all of us.

lavender has a relaxing effect on us

Smells in the air outside can also play an important part on our health. It’s well know that the scent of lavender has a relaxing effect on us, but did you know trees do to? A study in Japan showed that walking through a pine forest can help reduce stress.

walking through a pine forest can help reduce stress

The scent of pine can also help with decongesting sinuses if you have a cold.

Walking Through a Pine Forest can Reduce Stress

Another factor that may not be so apparent is negative ions.

The air is fresher and restorative after a rain shower, near a waterfall, on the beach, or even up a mountain

The air always feels fresher and restorative after a rain shower, near a waterfall, on the beach, or even up a mountain. That’s partly due to the negative ions that are given off.

more alert and less drowsy

Studies have show that negative ions can have a positive effect on our mood, and even help people with depression. It is believed that they cause a biochemical reaction in our bodies that increases production of the mood chemical serotonin. They also increase the flow of oxygen to the brain making you more alert and less drowsy.

Go on, get outside

If you don’t even take into account the benefits of exercise and daylight, the benefits of fresh air are certainly compelling, and another great reason to get your family outside.

Don’t forget to also open your windows on your home every now and then too, and let some of that beneficial fresh are in and the bad stale air out.

 

 

 

Get Outside

Stepping outside where there is fresh air and natural daylight will make you more alert and is a good distraction, Artis explained.

She said: “Expose yourself to natural daylight. Your body’s internal clock (its circadian rhythms) is regulated by your exposure to sunlight. This means you can trick your body into believing it should be awake even when it feels tired.”

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Know I need More Sleep?

 

  • feeling grumpy, stressed or more emotional
  • clumsiness or disorientation
  • having problems communicating
  • finding it hard to concentrate
  • being less or more hungry than usual.

Dark Circles

Missing a night’s sleep can cause fluid to accumulate below your eyes, leading to circles and swelling.

Hunger Pangs

Lack of sleep changes the way your body interprets hunger signals, leaving you with cravings that can be hard to control. Remember to keep your fluids up too

Feeling Unfocused

Missing a night of sleep increases the likelihood that you will feel forgetful or experience slow reaction times, which can result in small mistakes (typos on a work presentation) or very big ones (impaired driving).

Common Cold

An itchy, drippy nose is another potential side effect of a missed night of sleep. Your immune system may also be affected, leaving you more susceptible to colds.

Less Sex

Fatigue is a big factor when it comes to being in the mood for sex. In National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, about a third of women say they put sexual activity with their partner on the back burner when they are sleep-deprived.

A single night without sleep isn’t usually a big deal, but over time, these occasional lapses can lead to more serious conditions. Longer term, too little sleep may contribute to heart disease,  high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stroke.  The big takeaway here to a healthy life is to strive to practice good sleep habits, including getting to bed on time.

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Where to get further help – NHS

  • If you’re feeling really tired and struggling to cope, talk to your GP or health visitor. Find out about services and support for parents.
  • Cry-sis offers advice on coping with a crying or restless baby. You can call their helpline on 08451 228 669. It’s open 7 days a week from 9am to 10pm.
  • Family Lives has a free helpline you can call for information and support on parenting or family issues. The number is 0808 800 2222 and it’s open Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3pm.
  • Home-Start offers support to parents and carers through a parent-helper visiting scheme. Contact your local Home-Start.

do section on toddlers for Annual Pass holders

 

An infant in the house means normal routines are going to go through some adjustments. Feeding, burping, rocking, and changing take time, and that round-the-clock schedule can lead many new parents to experience sleep deprivation.  The low-energy state usually disappears with extra rest, but sometimes, a lethargic feeling isn’t due to sleep at all—it’s a sign of postpartum depression (PPD). How to tell the difference between the two? A few clues, below.

Consider Quality Versus Quantity

Most new parents experience feelings of exhaustion at some point. In fact, 76 percent are frequently faced with problems getting enough sleep.  But in PPD, which affects approximately one in seven parents,  it’s quality more than quantity of sleep that’s the problem, with PPD sufferers reporting that they simply don’t sleep well.

Measure Your Mood 

Sleep deprivation can cause crankiness and irritability, but a person’s mood typically improves after taking a nap or finding a few minutes in each day to relax. With PPD, on the other hand, strong feelings of irritability can linger for days or even weeks, leaving a new parent anxious and overwhelmed.

Observe Your Appetite 

Becoming a new parent increases energy expenditure, so it’s natural to feel hungry, especially for women who are breastfeeding. In fact, nursing moms need an extra 400 to 500 calories a day.  While some people with PPD may also feel increased hunger, often times they experience a loss of appetite, and find themselves eating less than usual.

Assess Your Attachment

Most new parents, even ones who are dragging from lack of sleep, experience a close connection with their infants. Struggling to bond with a baby, or feeling incapable of being a good parent, can be signs of PPD.

Look for the Fun 

In most cases, sleep-deprived parents still find joy in their favorite activities—when they have time to actually do them. For instance, readers or outdoor enthusiasts take pleasure in sharing pop-up books with the baby or going for strolls in the park. Mothers with PPD, however, find it very difficult to enjoy their usual hobbies and lose interest in things they once found pleasurable.

If you think you may be suffering from PPD, talk with your doctor right away. There are successful ways to treat the condition, and the vast majority of parents are able to gain control of their situation, allowing them to experience all the joys—albeit sleep-deprived ones—of life with a new baby.

 

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