While a big meal can be satisfying, there’s really nothing that sounds more satisfying afterward than curling up and taking a long nap. But taking a nap after eating might not be the best thing for a good night’s rest.
If you want to get good sleep, consider going for an after-dinner walk. As it turns out, there are countless walking benefits and one of them is helping you get better sleep.
According to the National Library of Medicine, serotonin is a precursor to melatonin. While you’ll benefit from walking any time of day, walking after dinner particularly helps with serotonin production (the hormone responsible for making you feel happy). It can also reduce stress and anxiety, and regulate the sympathetic nervous system to boost your mood.
You don’t need to prepare yourself for a power walk or blow your budget on expensive athletic gear. A “runner’s high” is nothing more than a big serotonin boost, and you can get the same experience with a leisurely, comfortable walk.
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If you want to lower your stress levels and get even more out of your post-meal walk, consider strolling with a friend or family member. Or, put your headphones in and turn on music that relaxes or motivates you. You might even consider giving walking meditation a try. The more you’re able to make an after-dinner walk part of your daily routine, the better you’re likely to sleep at night.
As a bonus, that kind of routine will also help to balance out your circadian rhythms. Your mind and body will start to “know” when it’s time to go to sleep, and you’ll be able to get some shut-eye without feelings of anxiety or stress weighing you down.
Whether you already walk regularly or you’re ready to try anything to get better sleep at night, stay off of the couch after dinner, grab your jacket, and take a stroll around the neighborhood. When you start to sleep more soundly at night, you’ll quickly make the after-dinner walk a part of your regular routine.