Why Do Workouts Make You Sleepy?

If you’re like most people, you probably find that working out makes you feel sleepy. But why is that? Let’s take a look at the science behind why workouts make you sleepy.


Are you curious about why working out makes you so tired afterwards? If so, you are not alone. Many people are familiar with unrefreshing sleep or that feeling of wanting to stay in bed all day after a healthy workout. This phenomenon is known as post-exercise fatigue, and here we will take a look at its causes and what you can do to avoid it.

Post-exercise fatigue is a natural response to exercise that can affect athletes of any level, from novices to elite competitors. There are numerous factors which can contribute to this phenomenon, including hormones released during exercise, the intensity of your workout, dietary choices before and after activity, dehydration and even psychological stress levels. Understanding these factors can help you prevent or reduce post-exercise fatigue in the future.

Physiological Effects of Exercise

Exercise is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, and it can be very beneficial to your overall energy and mood. But why is it that after a workout, many people feel tired, and even sleepy? The answer lies in the physiological effects of exercise on the body. In this article, we’ll explore the ways in which exercise can influence your energy levels and cause fatigue.

Increased Heart Rate

Exercise causes a rise in heart rate as your body works to supply more oxygen and energy to the cells in your muscles. As a result, your heart works harder, pumping more blood with each beat. This increases circulation which causes warm and flushed sensation throughout your body. Your breathing rate also increases as you take in more oxygen . While all of these effects are essential for optimal workout performance, this increased workload on the body can leave you feeling tired after your exercise session is complete.

Release of Endorphins

We commonly refer to workout-induced fatigue as ‘hitting the wall’, but the underlying phenomenon is actually caused by the release of endorphins. Endorphins, which are peptides released by the brain, act to mask physical pain, boost mood and produce feelings of euphoria. When we engage in physical activity, they’re released in an effort to make our bodies feel less uncomfortable during exercise.

At moderate levels of intensity, our bodies naturally receive enough stimulation to cause mild feelings of elation; however at higher levels of intensity endorphin production accelerates significantly. As these chemicals accumulate in our systems and muscles grow increasingly fatigued, the resulting sensations often cause dramatic shifts in our emotions—which can make us feel dopey when kept at bay for stretches of time.

In addition to their euphoric effects, endorphins can also have a sedating effect on the body — meaning that after a particularly intense workout session or prolonged activity bouts we may experience significant drowsiness as a result. Despite this comfortableness urge it’s important to remember over indulging ourselves during physical activities may put us at risk for exhaustion or injury. Therefore some extended rest is recommended after prolonged bouts before undertaking any additional activities for complete recovery.

Increased Core Temperature

One of the most notable physiological effects of exercise is an increase in core body temperature. As your body works to burn energy, more heat will be created than would otherwise be the case at rest. Your elevated body temperature will be accompanied by uncomfortable side effects, including fatigue, profuse sweating and a feeling of warmth throughout the body. The increased core temperature may also affect your ability to sleep, both during and after exercise.

An elevated body temperature can make it difficult to fall asleep or remain asleep through the night. Research suggests that core temperatures usually rise during exercise but progressively return to normal within two hours post-exercise. Additionally, because exercise generally helps people feel relaxed before bedtime, it’s also possible that exercising too close to bedtime can make it difficult for some people to fall asleep due to their low level of arousal caused by their relaxed state.

Psychological Effects of Exercise

Exercise not only has physical benefits, but it can have positive effects on your mental health as well. When you exercise, endorphins are released in your body that can give you a feeling of euphoria and can even help with stress relief. Regular exercise can also help improve your sleep pattern, energy levels, and mood. In this article, we’ll discuss the psychological effects of exercise and why workouts can make you feel sleepy.

Stress Relief

Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle and has been linked to relieving stress, depression, and anxiety. When you participate in physical activity your body releases hormones and chemicals, such as endorphins which act as natural painkillers and give you a sense of well-being. Additionally, exercise can also have a calming effect by reducing levels of stress hormones in the body.

Stress relief has been attributed to both mental or emotional exercise benefits and physical exercise benefits. Research suggests that aerobic activities are particularly effective at reducing stress responses because they increase heart rate and breathing, leading to an elevated production of endorphins. Other forms of moderate exercises such as yoga or Pilates may provide useful in promoting relaxation due to their gentle rhythms.

Regular exercise can help you build resilience so you’re better able managing everyday stressors while also helping you cope with more serious issues, such as break-ups or job loss. Mental health benefits resulting from regular physical activity can be both short-term and long-term depending on the type of exercise, your current level of fitness, nutrition habits and frequency. If done correctly it can be very beneficial in improving overall wellness and providing that extra boost for moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Improved Mood

Several studies have found that exercise can boost your overall sense of well-being, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. This effect is often immediate, but it can also accumulate over time. A 2018 study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry concluded that even three months of regular exercise was associated with significant increases in mental health when compared to participants who did not exercise.

Not only will these improved mental states enable you to get a better night’s sleep, but the beneficial effects of exercise can also spread beyond just restful nights. People who regularly engage in physical activity reported having fewer ruminating thoughts and a diminished feeling of distress when provoked by stressors. Physical activity has also been shown to increase positive energy and self-confidence, leading long-term exercises to feel more in control of their lives and better able to address challenges head on. Exercise even improves cognitive function and performance under pressure, helping them make better decisions faster than those who don’t get enough physical activity.

Increased Self-Esteem

The effects of exercise go far beyond physical wellbeing – it has dramatic impacts on mental and emotional states, too. Exercise can influence self-esteem and confidence in a variety of ways. Regularly engaging in physical activity is likely to improve a person’s body image and satisfaction with their appearance, due to the improved physical strength and endurance developed through exercise.

Studies have also shown that performing challenging exercises, such as weightlifting or circuit training, leads to greater psychological gains than simpler activities like running or jogging do. Challenging exercise improves body image by increasing self-efficacy (a feeling of mastery and control over the activity). In addition, performing high-intensity exercises is associated with the release of endorphins which contributes to positive emotional states often referred to as ‘runner’s high’.

Finally, consistent exercise has been linked to improved mental health due to its ability to reduce stress levels. Stress can be particularly damaging for self-esteem when it triggers fear responses or negative emotions such as anger or anxiety. Exercise helps reduce these responses by releasing pleasurable hormones into the brain which act as natural anxiolytics – relieving tension throughout both mind and body. In essence, regular exercise can make one more confident in their physical abilities and abilities in general.

Sleep Benefits of Exercise

Exercise can have a powerful effect on your sleep. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly sleep better and feel more refreshed in the morning. Regular exercise can also help you fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and even reduce symptoms of insomnia. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the sleep benefits of exercise and discuss why workouts can make you sleepy.

Improved Sleep Quality

Good sleep is essential for overall wellbeing and improved performance, both inside and outside the gym. Exercise can be considered a great remedy for sleep disorders, such as insomnia. Studies show that exercise can help with falling asleep quicker and staying asleep longer.

The improvement in sleep quality observed from exercise is thought to result from individual combinations of a decrease in stress hormones, an increase in temperature, physical fatigue which contributes to mental exhaustion, improved ability to manage anxiety and increased feelings of relaxation that can ease stress more readily. Further research has indicated that those who are physically active report feeling less fatigued during the day due to improvements in their overall sleeping patterns.

When developing an exercise plan to improve sleep habits it’s important to consider pre-sleep activities such as yoga or walking before bed, the duration of exercises performed earlier in the day or evening, the intensity of each workout session as well as the type of exercise being done e.g., aerobic or strength training exercises. Selecting an activity type and time of day should be based on individual preferences and any limitations imposed by factors such as work schedules but also taking into account existing commitments like family time or regular social events. It is possible for individuals to utilize beneficial effects from exercising for any length of time between 10 minutes up to 60 minutes prior their usual bedtime but not too late into their nightly routine otherwise it’s likely cause problems whilst trying to fall asleep due to raised energy levels too close when attaining the Lights off phase .

Increased Sleep Duration

Regular exercise can lead to a number of health benefits, including increased sleep duration. On average, people who participate in regular physical activity get approximately twenty-three minutes more sleep a night than individuals who don’t exercise frequently. This extended sleep period facilitates deeper, more refreshing rest, which helps to restore the body and keep it functioning properly. The extra sleep can lead to improved cognition, better focus and concentration and sharper problem solving skills. That’s one of many reasons why exercising regularly is important for your wellbeing.

While it may be tempting to hit the couch after an exhausting workout, engaging in light physical activities before bedtime can also be beneficial for your quality of sleep. Taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or completing some simple stretching exercises can help relax the body and eliminate any residual tension from your activity earlier in the day. It’s important to adequately prepare your body before you go to bed as this will help improve your sleep quality and duration.

Reduced Insomnia

Regular exercise can have major benefits when it comes to improving sleep quality and reducing the symptoms of insomnia. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can help regulate the secretion of hormones like cortisol, which plays a significant role in the regulation of our waking and sleeping cycles. Additionally, consistent exercise can reduce stress levels, leading to fewer nighttime disturbances and an easier time falling asleep. Other studies have suggested that aerobic activities like running or brisk walking are more effective at reducing insomnia than anaerobic activities like weight training. Exercise also releases endorphins in the body, providing a natural sense of relaxation that can make it easier to doze off at night.


It is clear that physical activity can induce a feeling of exhaustion and make you want to sleep. This happens due to multiple physiological processes taking place after exercise, such as biochemical changes in the body’s metabolism, electrolyte imbalances, and shifting sleep cycles. Other factors like the amount and intensity of physical activity, personal mind-body states and environmental noise levels can also play a role in fatigue caused by exercise.

To maximize the benefits of working out while avoiding post-exercise drowsiness, healthy adults should engage in regular physical activity with moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes per week. Additionally, sleeping patterns should be evaluated to ensure that you are getting enough restorative sleep during the night to recharge your energy levels during the day. Finally, it is important to keep well-hydrated throughout any form of physical activity by drinking plenty of water before, during and after each workout session to maintain fluid balance in the body.

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