Moving and Circulation – And Its Effect on Sleep

Dr. Craig Hudson, MD | July 26, 2016

Did you know that circulation and sleep are related?

It is true, better blood circulation can lead to a better night’s sleep… and vice versa. Poor circulation may even cause certain sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

If you are having difficulty getting a good night’s rest, you might want to consider if poor circulation is to blame – and then take steps to improve your circulation.

How Circulation and Sleep Are Related

Sleep is regulated by the brain and in order for brain cells to function properly, they must receive oxygen and nutrients which are transported by blood. When blood vessels are blocked – either by fat, cholesterol or from other causes – brain cells cannot function at optimal levels which can affect the quality of a person’s sleep. It can also lead to a number of other serious health problems.

How Can I Improve My Circulation?

Poor circulation is a problem for many people but there is good news - there are some simple things you can do to help improve it.

1. Live a healthy lifestyle

Sticking to a healthy diet and getting regular exercise helps with blood flow and consequently circulation, sleep patterns and overall health.

You don’t need to live at the gym to achieve this – something as simple as a 30 minute walk or swim can greatly improve blood circulation and a swift drift off to dreamland come nighttime.

2. Core strength

Other exercises such as Pilates or Yoga can improve core strength and posture. Posture is important for circulation.

3. Foods that help increase blood flow and circulation

Parsley, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic and onions are said to help overall circulation, blood flow movement and overall health.

4. Pillows

ensure that your bedroom is equipped with pillows that give enough support to your head and neck and try replacing pillows every 6 months.

Talk to Your Doctor

While poor circulation can be a result of a person’s lifestyle, it may also be caused by other medical reasons. If you have taken steps to eat healthier and become more active, but you are not seeing any significant improvements in your circulation or your sleep patterns, it may be a good idea to consult with a physician. 

The human body is an amazing and intricate thing, and when there is a problem in one area it can affect other parts and functions of the body. Take steps today to improve your circulation, and you may just find that a more restful night’s sleep is one of the benefits.