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How to Sleep Better

Sleep Tips from Joseph Pilates

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Updated May 07, 2013

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Go for Deep Sleep

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It is better to be tired from physical exertion than to be fatigued by the "poisons" generated by nervousness while lying awake.
Joseph Pilates

How to sleep better is a hot topic for many of us these days. When insomnia sets in, or we need a deeper sleep than we're getting, it can be frustrating, especially for those seeking natural sleep aids rather pills. In this article we review sleep tips from Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates Method of Exercise, whose approach to fitness was holistic.

In his book Return to Life Through Contrology Joseph Pilates provides definite advice on how to sleep better. There is much health advice beyond exercise in that power-packed little book, but for now, let me give you the sleep tips and exercises Joseph Pilates recommends.

How to Sleep - the environment: Pilates says the room should be cool, quiet, well ventilated, and dark. No new news there for those who have been seeking better sleep. He also says the mattress should be firm, bulky pillows should be avoided, and that one should use the lightest covering it takes to be warm. But, says Joseph Pilates, the most important element of better and deeper sleep is mental calm.

A troubled nervous system, Pilates says, can be alleviated with exercise. Regular exercise is frequently recommended by experts as a natural way of overcoming sleep problems, but what if you still can't sleep? Pilates has this advice: Get up and exercise.

Now this is where it gets interesting: Joseph Pilates specifically suggests spinal rolling exercises for better and deeper sleep. The rolling and unrolling exercises, he says, massage the spine, relax the nerves, help cleanse the body, and restore natural flexibility of the spine.

Exercises for Better Sleep

Here are some easy Pilates rolling and unrolling exercises might try before bed or if you have trouble sleeping during the night:

No article about Pilates and sleep would be complete without mentioning that along with the many amazing pieces of fitness equipment Joseph Pilates invented, he also invented a bed. He claimed it was the most ergonomic and healthful for sleeping. The bed was basically a wide wedge. Maybe it was too unusual, maybe it didn't work. In any case, it wasn't a big hit though some people still experiment with the plans.

And, if you decide to stay in bed, here are 6 Pilates Exercises You Can Do in Bed. This article includes a diagram of Joe's wedge bed.

Please keep in mind that Joseph Pilates tips do not necessarily follow guidelines from sleep doctors.

Sources:
Return to Life Through Contrology, J. Pilates
The Effects of Exercise on Sleep, Youngstedt

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