Regular exercise and good, quality sleep go hand in hand. The World Health Organisation recommends that adults engage in at least 75-150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week in order to aid better sleep.
Finding the right time to work out in the day can be tricky, especially when we’re told not to exercise at particular times. We’ve found out that it’s actually okay to exercise at any time, as long as it’s not right before bedtime. Read on to find out what the benefits of exercising at different times of the day are for the best sleep results, and how you can fit it into your own routine..
If you’re a morning person, a morning workout may be your favourite time to complete your exercise routine, but not everyone feels the same way about early starts. It does have massive benefits, especially as it kick starts your day to give you plenty of energy, boost your mood and can even help you fall into a deeper sleep at night..
Energy and Mood Boost
Exercising in the morning can provide an energy boost to kick start your day. During exercise, your body produces the endorphins that help improve your mood
If you are able to take the exercise outdoors, you have the added benefit of soaking in some daylight to help align your circadian rhythm — your body’s natural internal clock — with sunlight. When your circadian rhythm is in sync with natural light, you tend to feel alert during the day and tired at night, which can help improve your sleep quality.
Studies have shown that an early morning aerobic exercise session leads to more time spent in deep sleep when compared to afternoon workouts. Other studies, however, have found that the time of day a person exercises doesn’t impact their time spent in deep sleep that night.
After countless articles advising people otherwise, many believe that exercising later on in the day can impact on our quality of sleep. However, recent research suggests that afternoon and evening exercise doesn’t actually have a negative effect on sleep, as long as it occurs 90 minutes before bedtime. In fact, exercising later comes with specific benefits..
Research suggests that athletes experience peak performance in the afternoon, whether they engage in aerobic exercise or strength training. If you want to hit specific exercise goals, the odds might be in your favor later in the day.
Fall Asleep Faster
People who exercise later in the day often report that they fall asleep faster and feel better upon waking. This may be due to the change in body temperature associated with exercising. Your body warms up as you exercise, then cools down an hour or two after you stop. The cool-down might tell your body to prepare for sleep.
As you near bedtime, stick to low- to moderate-intensity exercises, such as stretching and meditation. Engaging in more strenuous exercise in the 90 minutes before sleep could make falling asleep more difficult, as your body needs time to cool down.
During an aerobic workout, your heart rate increases, body temperature rises, and you receive a boost in energy with the release of endorphins. These changes are all beneficial for your health, but may not be conducive for your bedtime routine. If you need to cool down quickly, you may consider a shower or bath to help regulate your body temperature and prepare you to relax.
Low-intensity exercises before bedtime can provide you with the health benefits of exercise without increasing your heart rate and body temperature. These activities can help prepare your mind and body for relaxation and sleep.
Stick to gentle workouts before going to bed. Examples of physical activities that boost sleep include:
- Relaxation exercises
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