Last updated on August 16th, 2023 at 01:14 pm
Exercise is a great way to improve your health, though getting plenty of quality, consistent sleep is key to making the most of those workouts. Knowing when and what types of training to do throughout the day can help you stay fit plus improve your sleep. So before you grab your trainers, here’s what you need to know about the best times to break a sweat.
How does exercise affect your sleep?
If you’ve noticed you sleep better after a good run or HIIT session, it’s no surprise. Exercise can improve sleep quality in the following ways:
1. Reduces Cortisol – Stress feels like an inevitable part of modern life, especially when you have a busy job and jam-packed diary of social commitments to keep up with. Exercise is one of the most natural ways to reduce stress and lower cortisol which is known to disrupt sleep.
2. Helps establish a routine – Our bodies love a routine. By incorporating a regular, consistent workout routine into your lifestyle you can do wonders for your sleep. You are training your circadian rhythm when it’s time to push and relax, which can make it easier and quicker to fall asleep.
3. Can help improve sleep disorders – Certain sleep disorders can often improve with regular exercise. Working out and exerting energy during the day, naturally fatigues the body and mind which can reduce the symptoms often associated with sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
What are the impacts of exercising before bedtime on sleep?
While exercising can be great for sleep, working out too close to bedtime could make it take longer to drift off. Vigorous training that gets your heart pumping releases those feel-good endorphins that can keep you awake. This can make it hard to relax and switch off without proper time to unwind and prepare for bed.
High-level or even moderate workouts can also raise your body temperature. This signals to your body that it’s time to be awake which can affect sleep duration and quality if you do not allow enough time to cool down and let yourself recover before hitting the hay. That said, if you do prefer a later workout and find it better suits your lifestyle there are certain exercises that can be beneficial to do before bedtime.
What are the best exercises to do before bedtime?
Low-impact exercise that does not raise your heart rate or adrenaline is recommended before bed. According to our expert ‘yoga, light stretching and breath work can help you unwind and relax before bed’. Yoga still strengthens and tones your muscles whilst lowering cortisol without raising your core temperature too much. Glute bridges, child’s pose and shoulder stand are all great moves to do before bedtime. Either at home or in a class, scheduling regular gentle exercise into your bedtime routine will help you reap all the benefits whilst still enjoying a refreshing, long snooze.
Extra sleep tips to keep you fit and healthy
Along with regular work-outs here are some final dreamy tips to keep you sleeping soundly and ready to train;
1) Keep to a consistent routine
Whatever time you decide to work out, do your best to keep it consistent. Your body will quickly adapt and keep you on schedule. Sticking to the same wake-up and bedtime is one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
2) Have the right mattress and pillow
Proper alignment and spinal support are essential to keep your body healthy and ensure you remain pain-free. is there anything worse than a pesky, achy joint ruining your morning run? Having an orthopaedic, supportive mattress and pillows that adapt to your sleeping position will relieve your pressure points, allowing proper recovery for your muscles and keeping your joints happy.
3) Take time to unwind
Having one or two hours before bed where you enjoy a warm shower, stay screen-free and unwind will make it much easier to fall asleep. If you can set a bedtime ritual that allows your mind to switch off, the temperature to lower and lower the lights. Lower lighting will trigger the production of melatonin, your body’s natural ‘sleepy’ hormone that will help set you up for perfect shut-eye.
The final verdict:
Should you work-out out before bed?
If you are going to exercise before bed, try and stick to lower-impact workouts that do not raise adrenaline. If your going to go for a more vigorous burn, allow time to unwind and make sure you take a shower to lower your body temperature before ducking under the duvet. Having an orthopedically approved mattress and pillow will ensure you get the proper support your body needs to recover.
And remember, sometimes it’s ok to take a day off and stay in bed. Rest is just as important as hitting the gym and will make every mile all the more enjoyable.