Health & Fitness

Can We Workout Before Bed?

May 8, 2023   By Jennifer Cook

Do you enjoy a night run around the neighbourhood, or a Pilates session with your favourite late-night television show? Having an exercise routine that’s adapted to your lifestyle is one we’d like to have, for sure.

That begs the question, what’s the best time of day for whatever physical activity? Is it as soon as you wake up or before you sleep? According to sports medicine practitioners, you should do resistance training in the afternoons while cardio types of exercise are better suited in the morning.

Keep in mind that those times stated are only suggestions. Not everyone has the same schedule and circadian rhythm or internal body clock. Work schedules are often round the clock in an increasingly fast-paced and modern world.

What we should answer next is, is it okay to try something like weight training or aerobic exercise before bed? Can attempts to build muscle and achieve weight loss affect your sleep quality? Let’s get physical and find out!

Will An Evening Workout Worsen Your Sleep Quality?

Not necessarily! As a matter of fact, exercising before bed is a great way to assist the body’s metabolism leading to improved sleep quality.

However, AVOID vigorous exercises before bed such as strength training or HIIT. According to Harvard Professor Dr Stuart Quan, these exercises would boost your adrenaline and increase your core body temperature, making it difficult for your body to wind down.

Adrenaline speeds up the heart rate and makes the brain particularly active. So always leave at least two hours between exercising and bedtime to achieve both your fitness goal and a good night’s sleep.

On the other hand, some studies find late-afternoon and evening exercise to be more effective than a morning workout. This is often associated with the rise in body temperature between 4-6 PM – setting up a conducive workout mood.

A workout routine designed for the evening isn’t entirely out of the question. Hormones like endorphins (the happy hormone you’d want to have) and cortisol, the hormone that acts as a signal to the body that you’re stressed, are both affected by exercise in a good way.

Specifically, cortisol levels, in the long run, are lowered by exercise and can help mitigate some adverse effects of sleep disorders.

Many people even see working out as a pick-me-up after their 9-5 jobs, and we can’t blame them. Pairing muscle growth with better sleep? Count us in!

So, how do you know whether or not an evening workout can help you sleep better?

Every BODY is Different

Not everyone’s sleep is worsened by exercise. A study has shown no significant difference in subjective sleep quality after exercising right before bed.

Much like in choosing what fitness app works best for you, picking your optimum time get some regular exercise should be a personal fit. You need to consider a number of factors, such as your target weight, lifestyle, and whether or not you have health considerations like high blood pressure.

The best way to determine whether exercising before bed affects you is to have a trial night. After all, the perfect workout time is different for everyone.

What Types of Nighttime Workouts Can You Do?

Quick disclaimer, if you’re not confident that you’re getting enough sleep then it’s best that you first set better bedtimes first. That said, here are some workouts for you to try!

  • Light cardio exercise instead of heavy muscle-building sessions to keep your adrenaline level steady.
  • Yoga and walking can improve flexibility and core strength without dramatically increasing your heart rate.
  • If you want to do some toning, push-ups, lunges, and planks can do the job without too much sweat.
  • Steer clear of intense exercises such as weight-lifting, running and boxing two hours before bedtime.

How Do You Get Ready for Bed After Exercising?

  • Cool down by taking a shower. The rapid decline in body temperature after showering serves as a natural sleep inducer. Relaxing music and aromatherapy essential oils are also helpful. Just wait 20 minutes after your workout before jumping into the shower.
  • Meditate or do some deep-breathing exercises to slow your heart rate and lower your adrenaline level.
  • If you’re feeling hungry, eat a post-workout light snack such as a piece of fruit or low-fat yoghurt to satisfy your craving. DON’T have a large meal before bed as your body needs time to digest its food

Pick Your Ideal Time for An Exercise

Ultimately, it’s up to you the time of day you choose to work out. If you decide to go for an evening workout that doesn’t harm your sleep, you can do so by all means!

Ultimately, if you have regular sleeping habits coupled with a comfortable mattress, a little pumping up shouldn’t do you any harm.

The ideal workout time is whenever you’re most motivated, and your body is most energised from having a good night’s sleep. That’s how you make your gym sessions and exercise programs count!

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