Best Time Exercise for Better Sleep

Exercise for Better Sleep

Working out is one of the best ways to improve your sleep. According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, 67 percent of people who exercise report consistently getting good sleep, but only 39 percent of people who don’t exercise report getting good sleep.

However, exercising at certain times during the day may actually make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. You may have found that you can’t sleep after intense workout that ended shortly before bedtime. For most people, the best time to exercise for better sleep is in the morning or afternoon, long before you go to bed.

Why You Can’t Sleep After Working Out

Many people like to work out right before going to bed because they don’t have any other plans or responsibilities left for the day. Working out in the evening might be the most convenient option, but it’s probably the worst for getting a good night of sleep.

Exercise boosts your body temperature for several hours. When your body is warmer, it’s much harder to relax and sleep. Your workout also increases your heart rate and stimulates your nervous system, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.

Everyone is different, so you may have no problem falling asleep and staying asleep right after a workout. However, it’s not the best time for exercise for most people. If you can’t sleep after intense workout, try to exercise in the morning or early afternoon instead. If you only want to exercise before bed, try something gentler like yoga or stretching. Yoga can be particularly good not only for those who struggle to fall asleep but for occasional and heavy snorers too.

Benefits of Morning Exercise

For most people, morning is the best time to exercise for better sleep. A study at Appalachian State University found that those who exercised at 7 a.m. slept better than those who exercised at 7 p.m. They fell asleep faster, slept longer, and experienced deeper sleep. They also spent more time in the sleep stages where the muscles and brain repair themselves.

There are a few possible reasons why working out in the morning is better. If you exercise outside in the morning, the daylight can help your body regulate its sleep-wake cycles. Sunlight activates the pineal gland in your brain, which will then secrete melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycles.

Exercising in the morning will also cause a dropin blood pressure by the evening, which is very helpful for falling asleep. The Appalachian State University study found that those who exercised in the morning experienced a 10 percent decrease in blood pressure throughout the day and a 25 percent drop at night. This is especially good for people with sleep apnea because their blood pressure tends to stay elevated as they sleep. Higher blood pressure can make it difficult to achieve quality sleep, so a morning workout could be very helpful.

Benefits of Afternoon Exercise

If you’re not a morning person, you can also try working out in the afternoon, which has its own set of benefits. Your body is slightly warmer in the afternoon than in the morning, so your muscles will work better and your risk of injury will be lower.

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, afternoon aerobic workouts may be helpful. Exercise raises your body temperature for a few hours. When your core temperature starts to decrease, it’s a signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep. You can choose a workout time depending on when you go to bed. Try to exercise four or five hours before going to sleep, which should give your body plenty of time to relax from the workout.