It’s easy to see why exercise before bed sounds like a good idea. It makes you feel tired, which results in wanting to sleep. Likewise, it always feels great to fall on your bed and sleeping after a long day.
Well, it might be more complicated than that. Working out right before sleeping might have negative repercussions. On the other hand, it might also help you.
Yes, I told you it’s complex. Why don’t we learn more about it?
The relationship between sleep and exercise
How exercise affects sleep—and vice-versa—is surprisingly simple. Sleep makes exercise easier, and the same goes the other way. Additionally, both make up a holistic approach to fitness.
That said, exercise’s benefits for sleep are almost countless. Many experts agree that exercise is the best behavior for improving sleep.
With that in mind, what are the benefits?
Better sleep schedules
Working out helps you sleep efficiently. That means reducing the time in between lying down and falling asleep. It allows you to design more accurate schedules since you can stick to them easily.
Improved sleep quality
Deep sleep is vital for restoration. Exercising regularly increases how long you spend in SWS or slow-wave sleep. This effect likely comes from your body having to repair muscle micro-tears.
Sleep helps exercise
The relationship goes both ways. As you sleep better, it’ll be easier to work out during the day. As such, working out is among the best life changes you can make. It works on multiple fronts for your overall well-being.
Should you work out before bed?
This question is considerably complex. The Sleep Foundation explains it better. Traditional advice is to avoid intense workouts three hours before sleeping. Nevertheless, recent studies suggest the contrary.
Most people who exercise after 8 pm seem to fall asleep faster and better. The same results seem to come from sleeping between 4 and 8 pm. Still, we must care about elevating our body temperature. High body temperatures often make it more challenging to fall asleep.
Unfortunately, most people don’t exercise before bed. Therefore, it’s difficult to assess the real extent of pre-sleep workouts. There’s also a noticeable variety between studied individuals.
Some exercises work best
Physical exertion isn’t the same as exercising. Manual labor and physically intensive jobs don’t always provide the same sleep benefits. Likewise, some types of exercise—particularly those focused on mindfulness—are better for sleep.
What’s the best way to work out for better sleep?
It’s worth considering how timing matters for exercise before bed. Aerobic exercises typically release endorphins, which help keep you awake. That’s why working out in the morning energizes you during the day.
If that sounds like you, keep exercise a couple of hours before bed.
That’s crucial because aerobic activity has attracted more attention. However, you also need to care for your body temperature. Working out a couple of hours before sleeping lets your body cool down.
Every workout is different
Aerobic and resistance training tend to be better for earlier in the day. They raise your body temperature while making you feel active. Their benefits also build up in the long term.
Other workout types, like yoga and tai chi, are great for sleep. They help you alleviate stress and relax without agitating you. They’re also outstanding for strength training.
Experiment until you find what works
Everyone is different. Some people disrupt their sleep when they work out before bed. Others sleep better if they hit the bed right after working out. Try different schedules and exercise routines.
The holistic takeaway
Exercising will always help you sleep and live better. There are countless reasons to develop a workout schedule. Sleep should be a priority because of its benefits for your physical needs.
That said, exercise before bed is a more complicated subject. Our best advice is to try out everything you can. You’ll eventually find the best approach for your needs. Don’t let external advice dissuade you from what’s optimal for you.
Finally, don’t abuse your physical capabilities. Even 30 minutes of light aerobic exercise can improve your sleep tonight.