Working out regularly offers a lot of benefits including better sleep. According to Healthline, it not only helps promote relaxation but also reduces anxiety, and normalizes your internal clock. Therefore, exercising is a great option if you are having a hard time sleeping at night.
Regardless of these studies, however, many people still believe that working out before bed can make it harder to get a good night’s rest. But, recent studies suggest that this may not necessarily be true. The main factor for this is to simply be mindful of the exact timing and to focus on the type of routine that won’t affect your ability to fall asleep at night.
If you’re still unsure whether working out before bed is bad for your sleep, use these pointers to keep your sleep on track.
Monitor your workouts and sleep performance
One of the ways to know if exercising at night is beneficial to your sleep is by keeping track of them. According to Kin M. Yuen, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor of sleep medicine at the University of California San Francisco, recording a journal of your evening workouts will help you assess if exercising at night is beneficial for your sleep. When doing this, record your activities.
Moreover, you can also use a fitness tracker to log your heart rate and gather data on your sleep performance.
Try doing low-intensity exercises
Since intense workouts pump your heart rate heavily, it may be more challenging to sleep at night. Therefore, it is recommended that you indulge yourself in mellow exercises such as yoga and stretching. Other low-intensity activities that you might want to do include:
- Water aerobics
- Tai chi
- Inline skating
- Power walking
Have a 30-minute break before bed
According to research, speeding up your heart rate by 26 beats per minute while running can disturb sleep. So it is recommended that you stop your workouts at least 30 minutes before bed so that your body can cool down.
With that said, however, Dr, Yuen suggests that you may be better off taking the time to complete a longer cool-down session. This not only helps to calm down the entire body system but also cools the body temperature which can encourage better quality sleep during the night as a result.
Consume recovery snacks
According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming recovery snacks can help with your muscle recovery, easing your fatigue from working out in the process. After working out, consuming meals that contain both carbohydrates and protein within two hours of your exercise is recommended. Some of the meals that are great for post-workout recovery include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Peanut butter sandwiches
- Low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels
- Protein smoothies
Avoid trying new workouts
Trying new workouts means that new muscles will need extensive muscle repair. As a result, this can lead to sleep disruptions. Sticking with workouts your body’s familiar with is recommended. For instance, if someone routinely runs two miles every day, then perhaps nothing is out of the ordinary and the body’s not as challenged. On the contrary, if someone is new at running, it may then create more muscle stress in the process.
Overall, the best time to exercise solely depends on the time that works for you. The most important thing here is that you exercise regularly, whenever that may be as it helps promote overall better sleep.
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