Exercise before bed was always regarded as not good for your night’s sleep, however new research suggest otherwise. The new findings show that people who workout at any time of the day, or night, sleep better than those who don’t exercise.
Is Exercise Good for Sleep?
Yes, definitely exercise is one of the best ways to improve your sleep, and it has so many benefits for your sleep, that it is almost foolish to not have some sort of physical activity.
Regular physical exercise regulates hormonal activity, and this will have an impact on sleep. Exercise also helps reduce stress levels, and anxiety, this in turn will also improve your sleep.
Did you ever feel too tired to fall asleep? That only happens with mental tiredness, you will never say you are too tired after you unload a furniture truck, you’ll just fall asleep right away. People with regular physical activity fall asleep easier, and have a better sleep quality than those without. We always knew that after a good workout we sleep better, but now there is scientific research to support it. This study, (sleep and exercise), showed that exercising improves sleep.
I started exercising yesterday and I couldn’t fall asleep. That’s the problem with most people, they expect results immediately. The research study mentioned earlier, shows that for people in their sixties, sleep will only improve after 16 weeks. What it is even more interesting, is that on a short term, exercising is influenced by sleep. People who sleep less tend to exercise less, at the gym. So the two are in a very complex relationship, and not getting enough sleep, makes you less willing to exercise, and by not exercising enough, you have a poor sleep quality.
Exercise Before Bed, Is it Good, or Bad for my Sleep?
You know the saying that exercising just before bed might negatively impact your sleep. Is it true, or it is just a myth?
This article suggests that exercising just before bed, is not going to affect sleeping, so in other words the rule to exercise at least three hours before bed does not bear any support, and is not true.
My personal experience, and from interviewing people around me, is that exercise does affect your ability to sleep. The science behind it, is that your body needs to cool down before sleep, your body temperature drops a few degrees. By exercising you increase your body temperature, and it will take at least a couple of hours, if not three to get cooled down. This signals your brain that it is not the time for sleep, yet, so your brain doesn’t send the necessary chemicals to send you to sleep.
However, there are people who trained their brain to send sleep signals whenever they want, and this is an intuitive process, not necessarily a conscientious one, but it works for them. This is how people using the Uberman schedule get to sleep fast. For most of us though, going to sleep immediately after exercise, is going to be a struggle.
What if my schedule only allows me to exercise before bedtime?
Well, that sucks, but you are not the only one in this situation. But the reality, as underlined by the article mentioned before, is that it is better to exercise, and lose 60 minutes of poor sleep, and rest properly for the rest of the night.
You might even get used to this new situation, and start adjusting faster, from physical stress to relaxation mode. But even if you don’t, here are a couple of great tips to convince your body is sleep time:
Bring your bedroom at a very low temperature at bed time, and arrange your thermostat so it gradually raise the rooms temperature to normal after a little while.
Drink calming herbal teas, such as chamomile, linden, and valerian.