Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Most people recognize that and make an effort to work out regularly. But, is there a right or wrong time to be active? Is exercise before sleeping good or bad?
As a society, we are busier than ever. Our schedules are so full sometimes it’s hard to find adequate time to exercise during the day. Perhaps the only times that work for you are early in the morning or right before bed.
There is a common misconception that working out before going to sleep is not good for you. Some of these misconceptions suggest that exercise is less effective. Others suggest that it can disrupt your sleep. But how much truth is there to those claims?
The real answer is that getting in your cardio before bed isn’t that bad. For the most part, many people can exercise as near as 30 minutes before bed with no problems. So, why have those misconceptions become so popular?
Why Is It Bad to Exercise before Bed?
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Bouts of exercise increase the body’s adrenaline levels, increase your heart rate, and can keep you awake because you feel too hot.
Your brain activity is higher, and your body temperature rises. For some people, that can affect their sleep health. While it isn’t the case for everyone, if you find that exercising before bed causes you to sleep poorly, you should select another time to get a workout.
For the most part, though, the stimulants in the body caused by exercising don’t affect our ability to fall asleep.
In some cases, it can help you fall asleep. If you have a known sleep disorder, such as insomnia, exercising before bed may help your body to relax and allow you to get rid of anxieties.
According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, almost 83% of those questioned suggested that working out at any time helped them to sleep better.
Many of the claims made about exercise have to do with timing and the type of exercise you do. Relaxing to moderate exercise can usually be done 30 minutes or so before bed. If you’re performing strenuous exercise 2-3 hours before bed, this may help you to sleep more soundly.
What are the Benefits of Exercising before Going to Bed?
The benefits of getting a good workout before bed may surprise you.
It starts with location. If you work out in a gym, you’re likely to run into fewer people late at night. This can help you to unwind, get on machines faster, and even utilize more of the facility’s features.
No matter where you work out, though, the following benefits may apply:
- Your best performance: Some people feel stronger and more energetic at night. If the idea of working out in the morning seems impossible, do what fits your mood and energy levels. You’ll get a better workout in and can burn off some of that extra energy.
- De-stressing: After a long day, a good workout can be a great way to unwind and relax. Whether you’re doing cardio or heavy weight lifting, working out at night can help you to forget the days’ frustrations. A stress-free mind can certainly help you to sleep easier.
- Repair and recovery: After an intense workout, a meal, and a shower, your body is ready for rest. Getting to sleep not only provides the rest you need but growth. Our bodies produce growth hormones when we sleep. This helps to repair muscle tissue and breaks down fat. Giving your muscles a chance to recover fully can leave you feeling more energized in the morning.
- Burn more calories: Training before you go to sleep increases your metabolic rate, enabling you to burn off more calories. This could help you with a weight loss plan.
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep After Finishing a Workout
If you want to go to the gym before bed, but you’re worried you won’t be able to sleep, try some of the following tips:
- Always do a post-workout cooldown. It will give your breathing a chance to get back to normal, as well as your heart rate.
- A cold shower can help to bring your body temperature back to normal. A quick, 5-minute shower is sufficient. It can keep you from feeling overheated while you’re trying to sleep.
- Finish up your workout with meditation or another relaxation technique.
- Do what relaxes you before bed, following the workout. It could be listening to soft music, reading a book, etc. Build a nighttime routine that includes exercising and relaxation.
- Reduce noise in your bedroom, as long as possible before actually going to sleep. This can be helped with a white noise machine for sleep. Additionally, make sure that the room temperature is optimal. Being comfortable is extremely important when it comes to falling asleep and staying asleep.
Choosing the right type of exercise before bed is essential. It varies from person to person. Some people may respond better to heavy weight lifting. Others may prefer a more calming routine, like yoga. Again, it’s all about timing. Try mixing up routines at different times of the day.
Is It Okay to Sleep After Working Out?
For the most part, exercising before bed is perfectly healthy.
The only major health concerns associated with it happen when your sleep cycle is disrupted. If getting a workout before you go to sleep makes it harder to rest, make a change.
Exercise shouldn’t keep you from getting sleep. If you find that it does, make a change to your workout routine. Taking care of your health is the most important thing to consider. You can’t do that without proper sleep, and waking up in the middle of the night will take its toll on you.
The timing of when we exercise, and how it benefits us, is often personal. Some people can exercise with vigor before going to bed and fall asleep without a problem. Others may have trouble getting to sleep and experience sleep deprivation.
So, knowing if exercise before sleeping is good or bad is primarily based on who is doing the exercise. The most important thing is to maintain an active lifestyle whenever you can. Use a routine that works best for you and provides you with the most personal benefits.