When it comes to late night workouts, there is much debate as to whether or not it affects sleep quality. In one corner, you have those who believe exercising at night leaves you tossing and turning in bed. On the other side, you have those who argue “any exercise is better than none” and night workouts don’t have a significant negative effect on sleep. So who’s right? A few studies may just finally put this argument to bed for good. But first, let’s start with a fact that most of us can agree on...
Want better sleep? Exercise can help
There is little debate that exercise improves the quality of your sleep. While there’ve been a number of studies over the years that support this claim, here are two recent ones that show further evidence of this. First, in a recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, it was revealed that regular exercisers are up to 67% more likely to get a good night’s sleep, as opposed to only 39% of sedentary people.
Another study by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine demonstrated that women who exercised 3 days a week for 30 minute periods slept as much as an hour longer and woke up less during the night.
So what about exercising at night?
There are a lot of people out there who believe that nighttime workouts can cause a disruption to your sleep. The logic is that by getting your heart pumping and blood flowing late in the evening, you’ll be too amped up to catch any Z’s. Is it true? Three recent studies show that the answer is likely no.
In the poll previously mentioned above by the National Sleep Foundation, it was shown that exercisers slept better regardless of the time of day they worked out. A second study by the Journal of Sleep Research found that intense workouts performed by participants late at night had no measurable effects on their quality of sleep.
And finally, a third study of fit men who rode stationary bikes for three hours and then went to sleep 30 minutes later, revealed that this exercise had no adverse effects on their sleeping patterns.
Exercise at a time that works for you
For many people who’ve been inundated with ideas that exercising at night can negatively affect sleep patterns, this news may come as a pleasant surprise. In today’s modern world, people are busier than ever. And sometimes that means the evening is the only time they can squeeze in a workout.
What it all comes down to is, exercise at the time of of day that’s convenient for you. Exercise will not only improve the quality of your sleep, but also improve your health - regardless of what hour you get your sweat on.
What if you discover that exercising late at night actually does disrupt your sleep?
Well, research or not, everyone is unique. So if you find yourself tossing and turning after a late night exercise, try moving it forward a half hour and see if it has the same effect. The key is to experiment until you find a time that works best for you.
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