Healthy Sleep

Can We Workout Before Bed?

Are you the type of person that enjoys a night run around the neighbourhood, or a Pilates session with your favourite late-night television show? Have you ever wondered whether or not working out before bed can affect your sleep quality?

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, 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 4-6PM – setting up a conducive workout mood.

A good number of people even see working out as a pick-me-up after their 9-5 jobs.  

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.

The best way to find out whether exercising before bed has an effect on 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?

  • 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 remember to wait 20 minutes after your workout before jumping into the shower.

READ: Shower before bed or in the morning?

  • 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.

READ: How long before bed should I stop eating?

Pick Your Ideal Time for An Exercise

In the end, it's up to you the time of day you choose to work out. If you choose to go for an evening workout and it 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!