The Irish Times has a fabulous article about sleep and sleep quality:
Sleep should be a welcome respite, but with our regular routines upended and an almost daily onslaught of anxiety-inducing news, many people are tossing and turning.
A study published in June by the journal Sleep Medicine found a 37 per cent increase in the rates of clinical insomnia among adults in China from before the peak of the pandemic.
Exercise can reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and the amount of time spent awake at night, numerous studies have shown. It also increases sleep time and quality.
While experts suggest avoiding vigorous exercise within an hour of bedtime (it raises heart rate, body temperature and adrenaline), stretching and meditative movement such as yoga has been found to improve sleep quality.
These types of exercises elicit the relaxation response, in which the body experiences a flood of calming hormones and physiological reactions that quiet the nervous system.
Here is a short routine that can be a calming transition right before bedtime. Grab a thick book or yoga block, two tennis or massage balls and socks. For each exercise, take slow, deep abdominal breaths that emphasize and elongate the exhale. Breathing this way strengthens the relaxation response.