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Is it More Difficult To Sleep If You Exercise At Night?

February 25th, 2012 · 3 Comments ·
 
 

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I have a friend who wakes up very early in the morning and he works out at the gym before he goes to work.  According to him, the reason he has to do this because he finds it difficult to sleep at night if he exercises at night after work.

How about you, do you have same problem too if you exercise at night?

I believe that it depends on what kind of exercise one is doing and also what happens between the end of the workout and bedtime. I have been working out at night, between 9 and 10 PM since 4 years ago.  So far, I have not experienced what my friend has gone through.  In fact, if I do not exercise at night, I take longer to fall asleep. What I normally do is to have a light dinner latest at 7 PM.  After resting 2 hours, I do my weight training at the gym and followed by a nice hot shower to calm myself down.  With the energy expended at the gym, I will sleep like a baby at night.

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Another reason I prefer to exercise at night because I find it more relaxing knowing that I can take my own sweet time to get things done.  If I exercise in the morning, either I fail to wake up on time or I have to rush finishing my workout before getting ready to work.

Some do not like exercising at night because they feel they are tired. The thing is, you can get tired after sitting in front of the computer for the entire day, but this fatigue is not the same caused by physical activities.  Mentally, you are tired, but your body may still have much energy.  Therefore, by running on treadmill or cycling or doing weight training for about 30 minutes to an hour, you really get yourself tired.

The other factor, I have seen some people, after a vigorous dance class at night,  have a big supper before heading back home. Not that post workout meal is not important, but to spoil yourself with huge meal may make your body working hard to digest your food and therefore you may take longer to fall asleep.  As to what to eat, check out my article of What To Eat After Exercise or Workout?

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Having said that, we all are different.  Exercise gives different effect to our bodies differently. If you struggle to sleep at night after workout, you may need some time to get used to it.  Also, it also depends what exercise you are doing.  Do not expect that you can fall asleep instantly right after you have run vigorously for an hour.  You need some time to cool down.  On the other hand, if you do yoga, you may need less time to cool down before you get to bed.

No matter what, do what suit you the best.  Do not give excuses not to exercise.  Explore and I am sure you will find a way.

Check out my the other article on How Much Sleep is Enough and How Can You Sleep Better?

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3 responses so far ↓
  • Steve // Mar 1, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    I was hoping this might be a report of some scientific study that showed how exercise might affect sleep patterns. But your article is just one person’s annecdotal experience – and one that doesn’t do more than repeat conventional wisdom anyway.

    Here’s my own anecdotal experience: If I weight train in the early evening (around 6-8 pm, before a modest meal), I am pretty much guaranteed not to sleep that night – yes, the whole night – without fail. Not good, considering I must be missing out on all that night-time regeneration, not to mention decreased energy levels the next day. The effect is less with cardio workouts, but still there.

    The thing is, even if I train in the morning, I still have a restless night. In fact, if I am following regular training (e.g. every 2nd day) the effect will carry over into my off days also – therefore a complete week of poor sleep.

    This has been the my case for more than 5 years since I started training. Occasional extended breaks from training confirm it is the exercise to blame, as my sleep patterns then return to normal (though I’m naturally a poor sleeper at the best of times).

    I would be interested to know if others face this situation ansd why, rather than rehashing the “undisputed” wisdom that exercise is always good for promoting sleep.

  • Lyndon // Mar 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I think different people just react differently. If I train in the evening I suffer from insomnia that night and it sucks, maybe there’s another factor involved but I find it easier to just train earlier and avoid the problem.

  • Mann // Mar 12, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    For me it really depends. The good thing I love bout exercising or basically jogging at night is that there is less heat and less attention or people around. It’s just hard to sleep after sweating though. Cause it makes your body well conditioned.

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