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According to sleep experts, exercise can help you sleep better–as long as you exercise during the day. But what happens if evening is the only time you have available to exercise? Should you skip it to avoid problems sleeping? Not so fast. Exactly how and when you exercise at night can make all the difference to how well you sleep. In fact, you may discover that exercising before bed isn’t just harmless; it’s the perfect segue to slumber. Here’s what you need to know:

Time It Right

While you may not want to hit the gym full force right before hitting the hay, studies have shown that exercising a few hours before bed won’t adversely affect sleep and may help you relax. Plan your workout for the early part of the evening to give your body and heart rate time to wind down before turning in. Also, wait at least a half hour after your evening meal to exercise to avoid digestive trouble that could keep you up at night.

Move Slowly

Exercise comes in many forms and intensities, but any type of exercise has health and sleep benefits, including slow-paced activities. When exercising at night, consider choosing a low-intensity activity that helps release stress and tension built up during the day. Yoga, Pilates, a refreshing stroll outside, or a leisurely bike ride will all give you the health perks of exercise along with relaxation to help you prepare for sleep.

Consider Your Stomach

One problem with exercising at night is it can induce hunger right before bed. Resist the urge to eat a whole meal, since reclining on a full stomach can interfere with sleep. On the other hand, don’t climb into bed starving. Instead, munch on a sleep-inducing snack, like hummus and whole grain crackers, yogurt, or a handful of nuts. Too much water can keep you up, too, so be mindful of overhydrating when exercising at night.

Include Breathing

Proper breathing while you exercise is key to a healthy workout and helps put you in a restful, relaxing state after you’re done. Learn how to incorporate breathing techniques into your evening workout session. You might also practice deep breathing or meditation right before bed; both are mental fitness techniques that can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, improve brain health, and contribute to overall well-being.

Cool Down–and Warm Up

After cooling down from exercising at night, wait to throw on your pajamas. Treat yourself to a warm-up first–in the bath, that is. A soak in the tub or a hot shower will help lull you into dreamland. Warm water raises your body temperature, which puts you in a state of calm, but it’s the subsequent cooling down that cues your body it’s time for sleep. The best time to take a bath or shower for sleep is an hour or so before bedtime.

If you prefer to exercise at night or it’s the only time that fits your schedule, don’t fret over whether it’s a good or bad idea. Any exercise is better than none, plus evening exercise can be done in a way that promotes sleep. Be mindful about late workouts, and enjoy an invigorating and restful night.

by Susie Yakowicz

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What Fruits To Start Growing In Your Small Garden

Due to how complex it is, not a lot of people consider fruit farming. Also, it takes up a lot of space, not to mention you need the time and patience to put up with the demands of growing a fruit tree. This is the main reason why many people stick to growing vegetables instead.

If you’re low on space, you can try growing your fruit in containers that you can keep quite easily. Here are some of the fruits you can start growing at home without needing too much space or time.

Raspberries

Growing your own berries helps you avoid buying the expensive varieties from the organics section. There are different types of raspberries, and the one that you should look for is the kind that produces fruit during the summer and winter. While these grow best in raised soil beds that offer plenty of drainage, they can do well with containers as well. Also, they need lots of sunlight so that they grow to be plump and ripe. Once you’ve harvested the season’s crop, you should shear the cane till soil level and the upcoming plant will produce new crops.

Figs

An uncommon delicacy that you rarely get to enjoy, figs have a distinct, chewy and sweet flavor that can’t be compared to any other. You can grow these at home because a fig tree’s roots need to be restricted for ideal growth. This means they’re the best fruit you can grow in containers. Just make sure that you keep the container in an area that receives a lot of warmth and sunshine because that’s what they love. You will need to wait a long time, though, because figs that start to form in autumn aren’t ready to be harvested until the upcoming summer.

Strawberries

The fun and sweet taste of strawberries are loved by every family, so why not grow some in your home. While these can be grown in a bed, they thrive equally well in a container. You can grow them in those versatile flower pouches and even in baskets that hang through your garden. Just make sure that you keep the container or basket in a place with lots of sunlight and in soil that’s well-drained. If you consider yourself a strawberry lover, then choosing different varieties, such as Cambridge Favorite, Florence, and Flamenco, that grow in different seasons is recommended.

Blueberries

If you’re determined to grow your fruits out of containers, then blueberries will be a good option. Blueberry plants have pretty colored leaves and you can harvest your fruit at the end of summer. But you’ll need to get some acidic soil from the farmer’s market for this plant; otherwise, they don’t need a lot of care. Make sure that you pick a variety that self-pollinates so you don’t need to grow another plant.

Blackberries

You can have a whole berry plant collection at home once you grow these and they don’t even need a lot of space. You can train its stems to act like wires that can be tied to a fence so that they get plenty of sunlight. They do, however, prefer acidic soil with more moisture. Plant at the onset of spring, and after harvesting your first yield, cut the plant and leave six inches so that berries grow back for the next year.


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