Is it true that exercising vigorously a few hours before sleeping will affect your sleep? This post is just drawn from my past experiences, and I believe that it does affect sleep, at least my sleep. In fact, nowadays, I don’t even exercise within 4 hours of sleeping, and the reasons I will state below.
I think exercising before sleeping isn’t conducive for a good night’s sleep. I used to exercise around 8-9 pm, and then have a late dinner, and in hindsight it wasn’t good for my metabolism, and now that I recall, I usually had difficulty falling asleep.
Back then, I did not realize that this practice was one of the reasons for my sleeping problems. Even though I wasn’t working back then (just studying), had relatively less stress, and less worries; sleep never really came easy for me, now that I recall. Was it because of my bad exercise timing?
But some people insist that exercising before bedtime is not harmful, but more than that, aids in getting a good night’s sleep. But, I’m not one of those who think so.
Some of the effects of exercise are:
- Raising metabolism for hours afterwards. Sleeping on the other hand, is a time when metabolism is supposed to fall.
- Increase adrenalin in the bloodstream. Adrenalin is a hormone that keeps you awake.
- Send a signal to your psyche, in effect telling it that you’re not supposed to be asleep.
- Build up lactic acid in the muscles which take time to clear away, and in the meantime, may give you sore muscles afterwards (not helpful for sleep).
I need to add that I usually did weight training and calisthenics, and always pushed myself to the limits. So quite often, I went to bed with sore muscles. I don’t think this helped me in falling asleep. Also, the late dinner after exercise may have been the factor in why I had trouble falling asleep.
Each person is different, with different metabolic rates, and therefore it is better if you experimented. Try and see if exercising a few hours before hitting the sack is good or bad for YOUR sleep. Experiment with the type of exercise, intensity, and length of time you use for exercising. For some of us, late nights are the only periods of time in which we can indulge in exercise.
So, do experiment and see what works best for you.