Column: “This is how it works” – Finally really good: How I learned to sleep better

Column: “This is how it works”: Finally really good: How I learned to sleep better

Our columnist never suffered from insomnia. But since he’s been running, he has known what a really good sleep feels like. The fact that running strengthens the body in the long term is certainly not new. Mike Kleiss could not have imagined that it would make us sleep better.

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I usually don’t have sleepless nights unless my dogs have to get out in the middle of the night. Or the full moon shines in my face. I can sleep anywhere, and that’s a blessing, because: In Germany, every tenth employee suffers from insomnias, i.e. severe sleep disorders. Women are affected slightly more often than men.

It’s not just about not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep. It is also and above all about the quality of sleep. Before I started running again, I always felt I would have said: My sleep, the quality of my sleep is perfectly fine. It was only when I ran that I showed how wrong my self-assessment was at the time. But from the beginning:

Kurzbiografie Mike Kleiß

Mike Kleiss has been doing sports since he was a child. “He who moves, achieves more” is his motto in life. Running has always been his favorite subject. For seven years he has run between 15 and 20 kilometers almost every day, often marathons, sometimes ultra marathons. So far, our columnist has published two books on running. He is the founder and managing director of Communication agency GOODWILLRUN. Mike Kleiss lives with his family in Hamburg and Cologne. He writes about running here every Thursday.

How I learned to sleep better

I’ve been asked so often: why do you run every day? Wouldn’t it be better to take a break? What do you run away from every day? Why are you doing this to yourself? And here at the latest I should have said: So that I can sleep better! So, among other things. I could have answered much more simply: Because I have a lot of fun, or: Because it’s healthy. After just a few days of running daily with my personal “concept”, I noticed: My sleep was significantly deeper, firmer, somehow more intense. People I talked to about it said: You’re just so exhausted that your body has nothing left but sleep. I understand the point, but that was and is too short for me.

Daily running has enabled me to massively reduce stress. My head cinema, with which I went to bed very often, was suddenly just gone. But beware! At first I ran after work towards evening. Not too long after that I went to sleep and found that my head cinema was bigger than ever.

It all depends on the timing

I soon realized what the real culprit was. Quite simply, the wrong time to run and exercise. Because: Here the pulse rises, the oxygen uptake rises and the body releases stress hormones. These are responsible for the muscle tension, but also cause physical restlessness. Even several hours after the exercise, the stress hormones circulate in our body, which do not let us sleep. According to experts, there should be at least two to three hours between training and going to bed.

After that, I switched to running in the morning or during the lunch break. Sometimes I just took my running gear to the office, left a little earlier and instead of driving home I ran. Sleep became more and more my central theme. It is no secret that this is essential for our health. Not only the length of physical rest, but also the quality of sleep has a direct impact on our health. Above all, our immune system is directly influenced by good or bad sleep.

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Run more and sleep more

Scientists today are, however, also certain that those who run ten kilometers need around 30 minutes more sleep that day. If you run ten kilometers three times a week, you not only need more sleep, you are also rewarded with a significantly better deep sleep than anyone who is not yet as sporty.

Another point to improve sleep significantly is diet. Alcohol, for example, makes you sleep superficially. Cola or coffee consumption are real troublemakers. Eating too late doesn’t necessarily improve sleep. For everyone who can be better picked up by facts and figures: A study examined more than 2,600 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85 who did a total of at least two and a half hours of sport per week.

The result spoke a clear language: The quality of sleep increased by 65 percent – compared to a control group that was not physically active. In particular, the number of light and deep sleep phases had increased. One is therefore certain: Sport is not only good for the health of the cardiovascular system. If possible, a moderate exercise program should also be part of therapy for sleep problems. It doesn’t have to be every day. That’s how it works.

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