How Exercising and the Right Timing Could Improve Sleep

Regular workout helps improve health and promote better sleep. However, the time you work out during the day may affect your sleep quality at night. A study by Appalachian State University researchers found that men who lifted weights at 7 in the morning fell asleep much faster than those who did not work out at all or those who worked out too closely to bedtime.

Just like any strenuous activities, exercising keep the brain alert because of the flood of adrenaline and endorphins in the system. The wrong timing could delay sleep at night because it takes time before the effects of these hormones subside. So, how do you know when’s the best time to work out? Here are several tips how:

Avoid Strenuous Workout in the Evening

Full body workout requires engaging different muscle groups, which increase blood flow, metabolism, and body temperature. All these help burn fat and that’s a good thing… unless you’re working out a few hours before bedtime.

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Exercising too closely to bedtime will interfere with the body’s many biological processes. At night, the body is preparing itself for sleep. Blood pressure starts to decrease and body temperature drops. If you exercise during this time, the natural transition between wakefulness to sleepiness is delayed. The result? You stay awake late at night.

Experts agree that working out should be scheduled at least three hours between bedtime. However, Discovery Health suggests working out five to six hours before bedtime. This way, the effects of working out has subsided and your body is ready to sleep.

Morning Workouts

The best time to exercise is in the mornings, just as the body is preparing itself for the day ahead. Working out in the morning increases cardiovascular output that leads to increased blood flow and higher body temperature. By the time you’re done working out, you feel awake, alert, and energized. On top of that, working out in the morning may result in deeper sleep at night. The positive effects of morning exercises do not stop there! If you work out outdoors in the morning, you get your daily dose of vitamin D!

Image used under Creative Commons from Fit Approach

Afternoon Workouts

If say, morning workouts are out of the question, afternoons are also a great time to burn calories and enjoy restorative sleep. Just make sure you’re within the ideal time frame between workout and bedtime so the transition to sleep is not interrupted.

Working out in the afternoons is great because the body is about two degrees warmer. This means the muscles are able to work more efficiently, reducing the risk of injuries. In addition, light exercises – including aerobics, Zumba, or Pilates – may help overcome insomnia.

Pre-Bedtime Exercise?

Certain types of exercises may help improve sleep even if they are performed near your bedtime. Light stretching and yoga alleviates stress and promotes better sleep. However, the effects of light exercises vary from person to person so as long as your sleep routine is not affected, there’s no harm in trying light exercises before bedtime. Also, make sure to finish your workout by 7 in the evening.