Sleep is an essential part of your life and your lifestyle choices can greatly impact your sleep. Getting regular exercise during the day can be a great choice to maintain a healthy sleep routine. But can you exercise at the night? How does exercising at night impact your sleep?
How Does Exercising At Night Impact Your Sleep?
Experts have recommended regular exercise as a must for a healthy lifestyle, to stay strong, and to prevent diseases to a great extent. It is recommended that you perform exercises for at least 30 mins every day for five days a week to get the benefits of exercise.1
Morning exercises have shown great benefits for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disorders and have also been shown to improve the quality of sleep at night. Exercising in the morning sets your circadian rhythm, and sets a refreshing mood and outdoor exercises give a good dose of sunlight to give some added benefits.
But What If You Want To Exercise At Night? How Does Exercising At Night Impact Your Sleep?
The impact of exercising at night on your sleep may vary from person to person to some extent. Some studies suggest that exercising in the evening can affect the quality of sleep for those who wake up early and sleep early. But it may not affect the quality of sleep in case of late sleepers.1 This could be one of the reasons why some people can perform exercises even in the late evening while some may find it difficult to sleep after that.
Exercise offers great benefits and sound sleep is one of them. But the time of exercise has always been a concern. When considering how exercising at night impact your sleep, you also need to understand your health status and the way your body reacts to exercise in the evening. Some people may find it easier to exercise in the evening either due to their work schedule or some may find it easy to move freely in the evening. While some people feel good after exercising and may be able to rest better, some people may feel too tired or have painful joints that interfere with their sleep.
Let Us Understand How Exercising At Night Impacts Your Sleep:
Ideally, when you prepare to sleep, your body temperature begins to drop, slowing down the heart rate and your mind begins to relax. This eventually helps you get down to lower brain wave states, slowing down the brain activity so you can fall asleep.
However, if you indulge in stimulating activities that make you alert you will not be able to sleep. Aerobic exercises release chemicals called endorphins that raise the activity levels in the brain and can keep some people awake. In such cases, it is best to avoid exercises at least 1 to 2 hours before bedtime so that the raised levels come down and your mind gets time to unwind and prepare for the night’s sleep.2
Also, exercises raise your body temperature and can give the effect of having hot showers that wake you in the morning. It can signal the body that it is morning time to wake up thus increasing alertness. This could cause a hindrance to your sleep, which shows that exercising at night can impact your sleep. However, the body temperature begins to fall back to normal within 90 minutes, thus making it possible to sleep after that.2
Exercising makes you alert for some time, raising body temperature and heart beats faster with increased blood circulation. Hence exercising at night can impact your sleep, due to which some people find it difficult to fall asleep while for some the quality of sleep is affected. Hence, it is ideal to stop exercising about 90 minutes before bedtime and several studies have reported the same.
Experts have been suggesting not exercising at night as a part of good sleep hygiene. But the latest studies suggest that you can exercise in the evening provided you avoid rigorous activity for at least one hour before bedtime. The 2018 study reported that performing evening exercises did not affect sleep but in turn, those study participants were able to fall asleep faster and spend more time in deep sleep. On the contrary, the group that performed intense exercises less than one hour before bedtime took more time to fall asleep and had poor sleep quality.3
In a 2019 study, it was reported that healthy young males can perform a single set of moderate-intensity aerobic or resistance training exercises as long as they are stopped 90 mins before bedtime so that it does not impact their sleep.4 This was concluded as the study found that the body temperature drops to normal levels within 90 minutes of exercising, which would not affect their sleep quality.
A 2019 study concluded that high-intensity interval exercise in the evening does not disrupt sleep duration or cause any alterations in energy intake. The study suggested that exercises performed in the afternoon or early evening can be associated with greater performance output and supported that early evening can be a preferable time for high-intensity interval training exercises.5
This concludes that exercises when performed in the evening may not have an impact on your sleep. Also, because exercising at night can impact your sleep, your exercises need to stop at least an hour or 90 mins before your bedtime. By following these in your exercise routine you can enjoy the benefits of exercise at the same time not letting exercising at night impact your sleep.