Do Evening Workouts Disrupt Your Sleep?

If you have a busy lifestyle, chances are you’d rather wind down and relax in the evening than hit the gym. Evening workouts are frowned upon – and disruptions in sleep patterns (both real and imagined) are a big reason why. But what does science say? Is it ok to burn evening calories and still sleep soundly?

Researchers at Arizona State University found that evening exercisers slept just as well as those who skip nighttime workouts. The study concluded that the best thing to do is get physical activity, period – regardless of it occurs in the early AM hours, during lunch or well into the evening.

The big message to take away from the study: don’t fear the evening workout. “Sleep recommendations suggest avoiding exercise prior to bed,” said Matthew Buman, lead author of the study from Arizona State University in Phoenix. “We found evidence to the contrary suggesting that individuals need not avoid exercise at night.”

It’s also important to consider your body temperature. Exercising elevates your core body temp, which signals to your body that it’s time to be awake. The temperature will start to fall about 30 to 90 minutes after you’re done. This decline will help facilitate sleepiness.

Generally, a good rule of thumb is to exercise at least one to two hours before bed. This will give your endorphin levels some time to subside and your brain time to wind down.

What Kind of Workouts are Best?

Exercising improves sleep, but there are some exercises that may be better than others, especially in the evening. The National Sleep Foundation’s suggests relaxing, low-level activity, such as yoga or meditation.

Let’s start with the obvious one. Many people correlate yoga with relaxation and de-stress, and for good reason. Yoga has been shown to alleviate insomnia and improve sleep quality. If you’re looking for a specific yoga practice to help you get better sleep, try yoga nidra. Also known as yoga sleep, this meditative practice promotes deep rest and relaxation.

Strength Training
If hitting the weights is more your style, then keep at it. You can experiment with the intensity and duration of your nighttime workouts to see what brings better sleep. Strength training at night can help you burn off extra energy from the workday to bring on a relaxing night. One important note, try and stay away from supplements like pre-workout mix, especially for your nighttime lift sessions. They are loaded with caffeine and other ingredients and can keep you awake no matter what time you ingest it.

Cardio Exercise
Whether you want to go for a run, swim or even a brisk walk, cardio exercise can help improve your sleep. Furthermore, cardio workouts with moderate intensity can lower the severity of sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. Some studies even suggest that moderate-intensity aerobic activities are more beneficial to your sleep than vigorous-intensity exercise.

Listen to Your Body

With conflicting studies about the optimal time to exercise, it is ultimately up to you. If exercising in the morning helps you get great sleep at night, go for it. If you find that you sleep better after a nice evening workout, full speed ahead. The important thing is that you are working out in the first place and getting the exercise your body needs.

Sit ‘n Sleep has the perfect mattress for early morning exercisers, evening workout enthusiasts and everybody else. A comfortable mattress can help anyone sleep better, regardless of their exercise schedule. Plus, we also have the ideal pillow to help achieve the best possible post-workout rest.