Is It Good to Do a Workout Before Bed?

The jury is still out on whether or not working out before bed is a good idea. Some people swear by it, while others say it keeps them up all night. What do the experts say?

Benefits of Working Out Before Bed

Working out before bed can be a great way to wind down and relax your body. The physical activity can help you to release any built-up tension, calming you for a better night’s sleep. It can also help to promote better health and wellness overall, as exercising before bed can boost metabolism, reduce stress levels, and help keep your muscles and joints flexible. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of working out before bed.

Improved Sleep Quality

One of the most common benefits associated with exercising before bed is improved sleep quality. Exercising at night, shortly before bedtime, can help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Many people find that regular physical exercise increases their energy levels during the day and helps them sleep better at night. This can lead to a deeper and more restful sleep.

Exercise can also promote healthy hormones and help reduce stress levels which can further improve your overall quality of life. When you exercise at night before bed, your body temperature increases which helps signal it is time for your body to go into deep sleep mode, ensuring you get a full 8 hours of restful sleep every night. Additionally, research has found that regular exercise has been associated with reduced awakenings throughout the night, meaning you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning even if you have had less time to get your Z’s in total.

Improved Mood

Exercising before bed can lead to improved mood by helping to reduce stress, tension, and anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness, when humans take part in a single high-intensity or low-intensity exercise session prior to bedtime, their positive state of mind and outlook on life are significantly increased.

The endorphins released during intense physical activity help enhance your sense of well-being and give you a natural feel good boost. This combined with adrenaline and the satisfaction of achievement leads to an overall better mood before going to sleep and into your next day.

These beneficial hormones can also help reduce depression symptoms by providing an emotional lift, helping individuals become more confident while dealing with everyday encounters. Increased self-esteem is often one of the longer-lasting effects after completing a workout routine before bed as it gives individuals the opportunity to feel they accomplished something worthwhile during the evening resulting in higher self-esteem going into their day ahead.

Increased Metabolism

Exercising before bed has the potential to increase your body’s metabolism thanks to an effect called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). During exercise, your body increases its oxygen consumption for a short period of time after you have finished working out. This means that although you may be done with your exercise routine, your metabolism will continue to work overtime, aiding in increased caloric burn. The calories burned during EPOC can help contribute to weight management and make it easier to reach your fitness goals. Although its effects are short-term, they can add up over time with continued exercise making it worthwhile to hit the gym or go for a run in the evening if possible.

Risks of Working Out Before Bed

Working out before bed can have its benefits, such as increasing your energy levels and aiding with weight loss. But there are some risks that come with this type of exercise. This section will dive into the risks of working out before bed so that you can make an informed decision about when to exercise for best results.

Increased Risk of Injury

Working out before bed has its risks and drawbacks, with one of the biggest being an increased risk of injury. Any physical activity performed prior to going to sleep can lead to aches, pains, and soreness that will impact the quality and quantity of your sleep. A strain or pull from exercising might make it difficult for you to find a comfortable position in bed. Additionally, the adrenaline that comes with exercise may make it more challenging to get enough rest at night.

It is important to be aware of how tired you are likely to feel after a workout session so that you can plan your exercise routine accordingly. Working out too late in the day increases fatigue and will limit performance during training sessions. This can then create a heightened risk of injury due to improper form or even lack of focus while exercising. When planning a workout before bed, it is wise to rely on low-impact cardio exercises such as walking or biking instead of weight lifting or any other strenuous activities that require explosive movements and maximum exertion from your body. It is recommended that exercises take place at least several hours before sleeping in order for your body temperatures and metabolism to return back normal levels for evening restful time.

Difficulty Falling Asleep

After exercising late in the evening, your body temperature is raised and your adrenaline is elevated. This can make it harder for you to fall asleep and disrupt normal sleep cycle rhythms. According to the US National Library of Medicine, physical activity can counteract your body’s natural nighttime process of winding down and preparing for sleep.

Studies have consistently linked this ‘sleep disruption’ with a decrease in performance in areas such as reaction time, logical reasoning, and attention to detail. Therefore if possible, it’s better to complete your workout at least three hours before bed as this gives you enough time for your body temperature to cool down and any adrenaline released to return back to normal levels.

Sleep deprivation also has serious health consequences over time – ranging from an increased risk of obesity, diabetes risk and even heart problems that increase the likelihood of developing certain diseases later on in life. Therefore it’s important that we allow our bodies its much needed rest so that we are well recharged for when we wake up the next day!

Increased Stress

Exercising close to bedtime can lead to increased stress hormone levels, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Cortisol is a hormone released during periods of stress, and an elevation of cortisol levels may occur after physical activity. This increase in cortisol has been found to reduce the production of melatonin – the hormone responsible for healthy sleep regulation. Additionally, exercise can often be physically and mentally stimulating, making it more difficult for individuals to enter a deep state of relaxation and restfulness later in the evening. Therefore, exercising too close to bedtime may reduce the overall quality and length of sleep.

Tips for Working Out Before Bed

Working out before bed is a great way to increase energy levels and reduce stress. Exercise can help you sleep better, resulting in better energy levels and improved mental clarity during the day. However, there are some tips to remember when exercising at night. Here, we will discuss the benefits of working out before bed as well as the most important tips to keep in mind when doing so.

Avoid High-Intensity Exercises

If you’re working out before bed, stick to low-impact exercises that don’t involve intensive effort. High-intensity activities like running, biking, or lifting heavy weights can cause an adrenaline rush and spike in energy that may make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night.

Therefore, choose activities like yoga or low-impact aerobics as these have a calming effect and can help you relax your body and mind before bed. Other options include gentle stretching exercises, walking at a slow pace, or even dancing around your room – anything that gets you a bit of physical activity while not making your heart rate skyrocket too high.

You could also go for a light swim instead of doing more strenuous activities. Not only will this help prepare your body for a restful sleep, but it can also provide mental relaxation and help reduce stress levels as well.

Keep Workouts Short and Sweet

It is best to keep workouts done before bed short, sweet, and slow. While the energizing effects of a pre-bed workout can be beneficial in some ways, it is important to ensure that your body does not stay in an aroused “fight or flight” state for too long. In order to avoid sleep disturbances from exercise, it is recommended to focus on activities that are not too strenuous such as gentle yoga movements or light weight exercises. Additionally, moderate intensity cardio such as walking can be a great way to wind down while still engaging in physical activity. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate mindful breathing into your routine and slow your body down before bedtime.

Do Stretching or Yoga

Stretching is an excellent way to prepare the body for a restful night’s sleep. It aids in the prevention of muscle cramps and can be a great way to ease into winding down at night. Stretching can be done anywhere, which makes it ideal if you don’t feel like hitting the gym late at night. Stretching gently moves your body back into its natural position, as well as providing some extra endorphins to help relax your mind and body.

Yoga is another form of gentle exercise that has been linked with increased restful sleep. It combines stretching, breathing, balancing and strengthening movements that release built-up energy from your muscles. The relaxation portion of yoga classes can be especially beneficial for preparing for bedtime as it helps you relax both physically and mentally.

Pre-Bedtime Workouts to Avoid

Working out just before bedtime can be challenging due to the body’s natural tendency to wind down for sleep. While some people may find that an energizing workout helps them relax and sleep better, for others it may lead to restorative sleep being disrupted and feeling too energized. Let’s explore the pros and cons of doing a workout before bed so that you can make an informed decision about the best time to get your workout in.

Cardio

Cardio is a type of exercise that elevates your heart rate and blood circulation to improve your body’s overall health. Many people like to do a cardio workout before bed, but this can be counterproductive. Cardio stimulates the nervous system, which can interfere with getting restful sleep. It can lead to unpleasant feelings of restlessness or prevent the body from reaching important sleep stages.

If you’re looking for a pre-bedtime workout to avoid, then it’s best to stay away from cardio routines such as running, cycling and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These activities demand a great deal of energy and require more time for your body to cool down afterward. Doing such a strenuous activity so close to bedtime can overstimulate the brain, making it difficult for you to relax and get quality shuteye.

Heavy Weight Lifting

Heavy weight lifting is generally not recommended as a pre-bedtime activity because it can stimulate the body, increase the heart rate and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Weight lifting activities that involve large muscle groups can cause fatigue or even muscle soreness that may last for several hours post workout and disrupt sleep. In addition, certain supplements designed to be taken with intense workouts prior to bedtime could also affect sleep as some contain caffeine or tend to raise body temperature.

It is preferable to have completed most vigorous exercise four to six hours before bedtime in order for your body temperature and metabolism to return back to its resting state. It is recommended that light stretching or gentle yoga movements be done shortly before bed in order relax both mind and body – allowing the muscles, ligaments and tendons achieved during the workout routine rest, recuperate and repair.

Prolonged sedentary activity like watching television should also be avoided because it tends to keep people at a relatively high level of physical arousal which inhibits sleep onset. Therefore, opting for activities such as yoga poses, deep breathing exercises and taking a warm bath are good options that will help prepare you physically, mentally and emotionally for adequate restful sleep.

High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of exercise consisting of repeated, brief bursts of intense activity followed by varied recovery intervals. HIIT workouts involve a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises to achieve optimum results. While HIIT has many potential benefits, such as increased fitness and improved weight loss, it should be avoided close to bedtime due to its high intensity. When done late in the evening or too close to bedtime, it can lead to increased cortisol levels in the body—causing feelings of anxiety and restlessness that can interfere with sleep. It may be best to opt for lower-impact exercises like stretching or light yoga at night if you wish to exercise before bed; this will help keep cortisol levels balanced while also helping you relax in preparation for sleep.

Conclusion

In short, it is good to do a workout before bed as long as you time it properly and don’t force yourself too hard. Give your body time to wind down after exercising, and make sure not to overdo it in order to ensure that you can get the best sleep possible. That said, if you find it hard to fall asleep after exercise or can’t recover properly, it might be better for you not to exercise right before going to bed. You should also listen to your body and adjust your routine according to what works best for you.

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