Exercising Your Brain Can Combat Insomnia

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

Just as being physically active can help combat insomnia, so can being mentally active. Keeping the mind engaged and strong prompts the brain to need a time of rest. This exercise guide can help the brain in falling asleep and sleeping deeper.

Balance body and mind

What the body and mind does throughout the day has a great impact on sleep. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your body won’t exert itself and sleep may be hard to come by at night. Likewise, if you’re a ‘couch potato’ mentally, your mind may not be stimulated enough, which makes sleep harder to achieve.

Stimulate your brain

Most people have a day-to-day routine of waking up, heading to work, and household routines that runs like clockwork. Just a small change to your normal routine will stimulate your brain, and make it work harder as it takes in new information. The more changes, the more sleep your brain will need at night to recover. Try the following to stimulate your brain without putting stress on your schedule…

Switch up your routine

Try taking a different route to work, park in a different spot, use a different entrance to your workplace or try eating at a different place or a different table during your lunch break. Changing up your daily chores by switching the order is easy to you, but a workout for the brain.

Do things out of the ordinary

Try using your opposite hand to do tasks such as holding your telephone, brushing your teeth, and opening the mailbox, car door and entry doors. Listen to a song or two from a different genre of music that's “out of the norm.” You can also handwrite things you would normally type out such as a to-do list, a shopping list, or note to a family member.

Talk to new people

Engage in conversation with someone you would not normally talk to or talk to a new person. Your brain will be challenged to remember new things about them, and process information to help you keep the conversation going.

Wind down at night

Keep any changes you make to your daily routine just that - changes in daily things. Within an hour of bedtime, avoid things what will stimulate your brain, to allow your brain some time to transition between mentally excised and sleep. Try mentally relaxing things such as reading, taking a bath or listening to calming music. This helps avoid boredom, anxiety or stress before bed.

Final thoughts

These small changes in your normal routine will in a sense, “shake up” the brain by making it process things differently. So as you feel your brain getting comfortable with new changes, mix it up again and make some additional changes.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.