Does your quality of sleep depend on what time of day you exercise? This is a common question many people ask, but the answer isn’t the same for everyone. Some people have too many endorphins after working out late and feel restless at night, while others feel as though exercising before bed helps them to relax and sleep deeply. Continue reading to learn more about the effects of exercising at night and how to find what will work best for you.
Exercise Typically Improves Sleep
While some people have restless nights after late exercises, studies show that most people sleep better after exercising- regardless of the time of day. In a 2013 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 83 percent of people reported that they slept better when they exercise than when they don’t, even if the exercise is at night. Only 3 percent of late-day exercisers said that their sleep quality was worse when they exercised than when they didn’t.
Depends On Type Of Exercise
If you have tried exercising before bed and have found you have more difficulty sleeping than usual, you may need to reevaluate your workout. A common cause of post-work insomnia is over-exercising, so you may be putting your body at too much work for such a late hour that it cannot rest when it’s time for bed. Save your more vigorous exercises for the morning or afternoons, and try a less strenuous workout for late nights that ends in relaxation and deep breathing, such as yoga.
Preventing Post-Workout Insomnia
If a late night workout is the only time you can fit in a workout during your day, there are a few things you can do to ensure a better night sleep. Whenever possible, finish your exercise about 3-4 hours before you go to bed for maximum chance of solid rest. Also, you may know that drinking coffee before a workout can enhance your fitness results, but the caffeine will have a negative effect on your sleep quality and should be avoided in the evening. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated during your workout, as this will help blunt your cortisol response. The cortisol response results from strenuous activity, such as a vigorous workout, and can make it difficult to fall asleep. Lastly, take a warm shower or bath after an evening workout to signal to your body it’s time to wind down, facilitating a quality sleep.
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