It can be hard to stay awake this time of year. Every day the sun sets a little earlier, and when it’s dark around 5 PM, it can make 6:30 feel like midnight.
Your body is naturally equipped to shut down when it gets dark. It starts producing melatonin, so you get sleepy and crave bed. But a couple of weeks ago, we learned that going to bed too early can have health implications.
Plus, do you really have the time or desire to feel sluggish from dinner time to bedtime? Probably not, especially with the holidays right around the corner.
One way to help yourself get a little bit of evening energy that may help you stay awake – and spend more time actively awake instead of just waiting to fall asleep – is to take a walk after dinner.
If you don’t have time to do a full workout before dinner, going for a walk after dinner is a relaxing way to give your body a boost and signal that it’s required for just a few more hours every day.
A leisurely walk won’t turn your body on the same way as high-intensity exercise. Still, it is likely to provide enough energy to stay awake until bedtime and encourage quality sleep. Fifteen to 30 minutes at a leisurely to moderate pace is all you need.
The benefits will go beyond beating fatigue and encouraging better sleep. Going for a walk after dinner is also associated with improved nutrient absorption, while it also offers a set plan for daily activity.
If you need help making it to 10 PM or so before bed or are sick or feeling so burnt out in the final few hours of the day, try a walk after dinner. You’ll likely be impressed by the effect.