Why Can’t I Sleep After a Workout?

You just completed an epic workout and you’re feeling amazing. So why can’t you fall asleep? Here’s what could be keeping you up and how to fix it.

Understanding Sleep

Understanding how our bodies and minds react to different activities is important for understanding why we sometimes experience difficulty sleeping after physical activity. Our bodies undergo physiological changes during a workout that can have an impact on our sleeping patterns. In this article, we will look at the science behind why we sometimes struggle to drift off to sleep after exercising.

What is sleep?

Sleep is an important and complex biological process. It is part of our body’s natural circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates when we go to sleep and when we wake up. During sleep, our brain waves are very different from when we are awake — waves slow down and become much smaller in amplitude. Our breathing and heart rate slow too, as our body prepares for a period of rest and regeneration.

Sleep serves several important functions including physical restoration, energy conservation, processing information from the day, aiding in memory formation, improving concentration and mental alertness during waking hours and overall health. While most people need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to be rested and productive during the day, getting too little sleep or too much sleep can lead to problems such as fatigue, lack of motivation and poor performance at work or school.

When trying to establish a healthy sleeping routine—particularly after engaging in a physically demanding workout—it is important to find the right balance between physical activity during the day and adequate rest at night. The timing of your workouts can have an impact on how well your body recovers overnight—generally speaking it’s best not to exercise right before bedtime since it may interrupt your ability to fall asleep quickly or stay asleep through the night.

The importance of sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for overall wellbeing. During sleep, our bodies are able to heal, repair, and rejuvenate ourselves. Numerous physical and mental processes happen during the various stages of sleep that keep your body functioning at its best. Getting poor quality or inadequate sleep can cause a myriad of health issues, including cognitive impairments, weight gain, and negative impacts on cardiovascular health.

The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity of your sleep; both should be taken into account when trying to maintain good overall health. If you’re getting six hours of high-quality deep sleep every night and not feeling rested during the day – you may want to adjust your goals.

Your body needs an adequate amount of deep REM (Rapid Eye Movement) or B-Complex (dreamless) Sleep in order to achieve full restorative benefits from slumber. Deep REM Sleep allows us to process memories while dreamless naturally reduces cortisol levels which can lower stress levels; this is why humans need more than 4-6 hours a day to recharge their bodies properly.

When there is lack of time for deep REM or B-Complex Sleep due to work/school obligations it is important to compensate with naps throughout the day or another form of relaxation activities like yoga/reading/meditation in order ensure body systems are not pushing themselves too hard with too little restorative time which can increase chance for burnout or other psychological issues down the line. Additionally, after an intense workout it’s possible to find oneself energized instead of sleepy due to endorphin released during activity so if you don’t feel like sleeping right away listen and answer what does your body need in that moment—it won’t let down!

Exercise and Sleep

Exercise is a great way to stay healthy and energized, however, it can sometimes be difficult to rest afterwards. After a workout, you may find that you’re energized and unable to fall asleep. This can be frustrating, as it is important to get enough sleep to rest and recover. We will discuss why this may be happening and how you can get more restful sleep after a workout.

How exercise affects sleep

Physical activity is important for overall health and well-being, but it’s also an essential part of getting a good night’s sleep. The type, intensity, and duration of exercise can have a significant impact on how long it takes you to fall asleep and how deeply you rest through the night. Understanding how exercise affects your sleep will help you create an optimal sleep routine and ensure that you’re getting all the physical activity your body needs in order to function properly.

It is widely known that regular exercise increases energy levels during the day, but it can also help you relax in preparation for bedtime. Low effort activities like walking and yoga can improve circulation and encourage relaxation by releasing endorphins that naturally lower stress levels and promote a sense of calm.

A moderate to vigorous workout may have additional benefits for sleep. Research on the topic has found that endurance activities such as running or intense interval training can stimulate your body’s production of melatonin — a hormone involved in regulating your natural circadian rhythm (your “sleep/wake” cycle). This makes it easier to fall asleep at night while making sure you get up feeling refreshed in the morning.

On the other hand, if done too close to bedtime, excessive physical activity can be stimulating instead of calming and make sleeping more difficult due to increased arousal levels when your body is trying to power down at night. It’s therefore important to plan ahead with care— understanding when during the day is best for exercising intensity-wise— so as not to disturb restful sleep patterns. Finding out what works best for you should be one focus; timing matters!

The different types of exercise

Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and can be divided into two main categories: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise, sometimes referred to as “cardio,” focuses on sustained muscular activity that gets your heart rate up and raises oxygen levels throughout your body. Examples include running, biking, swimming, or any other activity that keeps your heart rate up for an extended period of time. Anaerobic exercise requires brief bursts of energy in order to use muscle strength quickly and powerfully. This includes weight lifting, sprinting or plyometric exercises like jump squats—these activities may not necessarily make you as tired physically but can trigger an adrenaline response for hours afterwards.

Depending on the type of exercise you do, it can have different effects on your sleep patterns. Generally speaking aerobic activities are more likely to tire out the body so users often experience improved sleep after such exercises. On the other hand anaerobic activities offer a natural “rush” from endorphins that can result in stimulating the brain — this often means difficulty winding down and sleeping until much later at night. Additionally certain types of exercises may stimulate stimulant receptors in the brain like caffeine would; this too could cause trouble sleeping after a late night workout.

Sleep and Post-Exercise

Working out is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but one of the common questions people have is why can’t I sleep after a workout? It can be incredibly frustrating trying to get a good night’s sleep, only to be left tossing and turning in bed for hours. In this article, we will explore the reasons why this might be happening, and provide some solutions.

Reasons for difficulty sleeping after exercise

For many people, sleep is an elusive and hard to come by commodity. After a particularly strenuous workout, this can be even more true. Exercise has been shown to improve our overall quality of sleep, but there can be times when it has the opposite effect. If you’re having difficulty sleeping after exercise, you may want to consider the following possibilities.

Cortisol Levels: After intensive exercise session, the stress hormone cortisol can stay elevated for several hours in the body which often leads to difficulty sleeping. Cortisol is responsible for sustaining energy levels throughout the day while at rest, meaning high levels may reduce our natural inclination to relax and slow down – which we need in order to fall asleep.

Fatigue: Following a long session of physical activity, it’s natural to feel tired and your body may consequently struggle to downshift gears into a state of relaxation and restfulness – even though this may be what you need most right now. This is especially true if you’re training or playing sports on a daily basis and pushing yourself harder than usual on certain days or weeks.

Our Circadian Rhythm: The circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that our bodies generally respond to naturally over a period of time – from daylight into dark periods – with alternating patterns of activity (e.g., alertness) as well as periods of stillness (when we typically fall asleep). Generally speaking, most workouts should occur no later than 6-8 hours prior bedtime in order not disrupt this cycle too deeply – otherwise chances are you’ll find it hard falling asleep until your natural cycle resets itself again around its regular time frame throughout the course of a day or night.

Strategies for improving sleep after exercise

Sleep is a key component of overall health, and getting enough quality sleep can be a challenge for some. If you find yourself having difficulty sleeping after engaging in physical activity, there are strategies for improving your rest.

One way to boost your chances of getting a good night’s sleep is to reduce the intensity and duration of your workout. While moderate exercise can help support restful sleep, intense or extended workouts can have the opposite effect. You might also consider shifting the time of day when you exercise; for some people, exercising around 4 p.m., instead of later in the evening, can make it easier to fall asleep at bedtime.

Other tips include creating a wind-down routine before bedtime and avoiding screens at least two hours before going to sleep. Developing healthy patterns with food throughout the day — such as eating small meals or snacks rich in complex carbohydrates — can also help you relax and feel more prepared to rest when nighttime arrives. Finally, think about modulating your environment on days when you want extra help; try lowering the temperature in your bedroom or taking a relaxing bath prior to bedtime to support enhanced comfort and falling asleep faster.


Working out can be an excellent way to reduce stress and give your body a boost of endorphins, but it can also make it difficult to fall asleep afterwards. In this article, we have discussed the reasons why after a workout it can be difficult to fall asleep and the tips and tricks you can use to combat the problem. So, if you find yourself having trouble sleeping after a workout, remember to try a few of these strategies to help you get a good night’s rest.


In summary, it is not uncommon to have difficulty sleeping after a workout due to the increase in body temperature and the surge of hormones and neurotransmitters that occur during exercise. This can lead to feelings of excitement, alertness, and even increased anxiety which can make it difficult for your body to relax. Sleep quality is also impacted by the type of exercise, its timing in relation to bedtime, and whether or not caffeine is consumed either before or after working out.

To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, avoid vigorous exercise late in the day, opt for lower-intensity activities like yoga or stretching closer to bedtime, and limit caffeine intake throughout the day. Establishing regular sleep patterns by going to bed and waking up at consistent times can also help reduce sleeplessness after a workout.

Tips for improving sleep after exercise

Properly timing your workouts and listening to your body can help you get a better night’s sleep after exercise. Here are some tips that can help:

1. Exercise earlier in the day to give yourself time to wind down and cool off before bed.
2. Exercise at the same time each day to create a comfortable bedtime routine.
3. Hydrate with plenty of water during exercise, but avoid caffeinated beverages later in the evening because these may impact your ability to sleep soundly.
4. Avoid eating late at night, as this can make it difficult for your body to digest foods properly when lying down and could disrupt your sleep cycle.
5. Consider shortening the duration or intensity of workouts if you’re having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep afterwards; even a light walk for 15-20 minutes can be beneficial!
6. Make sure that your bedroom environment is comfortable and relaxing – try using an eye mask, sound machine, or warm temperature settings (around 65-72°F) so that you’re more likely to drift off peacefully into dreamland!

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