Exercise is widely championed as a boon for health. It’s beneficial for the heart, reduces stress, builds strength, and even aids sleep if timed right. Paradoxically, if you find yourself wide awake after a workout, you’re not alone. Understanding the link between sleep and exercise can help amend your fitness schedule for better sleep.
Pumping up your heart rate close to bedtime can signal your body to enter its ‘alert’ state, negating the ‘sleep-ready’ mode you should be transitioning into. Here are the main ways exercise can interfere with sleep.
Exercise raises body temperature, which isn’t conducive to sleep. The body needs to cool down for sleep initiation.
Post-exercise, adrenaline levels can heighten due to the increase in heart rate and blood circulation, leading to an energized state which might delay sleep.
Exposure to bright gym lights or sunlight during evening workouts can delay the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that signals your body it’s time to sleep.
So, how can you maintain your fitness regime without compromising sleep? Here are a few tips:
As a rule of thumb, try to finish any rigorous exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Incorporate a post-workout cool-down phase. Gentle stretching or yoga can help bring your body temperature down.
A cool room can expedite the drop in your core body temperature and promote quicker sleep onset.
Ensure you’re adequately hydrated before, during, and after your workout. However, avoid drinking large volumes close to bedtime to prevent nighttime bathroom visits.
Striking balance in our health journey involves harnessing the benefits of exercise without sacrificing restorative sleep. Consider adjusting your routine so that, post-workout, you’re not just cooling down your muscles but also calming your entire system, readying it for rest. It’s not simply about the workout or waking up for a new day; it’s about celebrating the tranquillity that follows and leads to all our health endeavors. Happy exercising, happier sleeping!