Intense Workouts Right Before Bed Could Cost You Sleep

A workout that ends a couple of hours before bedtime should help you fall asleep, while one that’s closer to bedtime could have you counting a lot of sheep.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis using data from 15 published studies to determine how a single session of intense exercise affected young and middle-aged healthy adults and their sleep.

The team found that early evening high-intensity exercise helped promote sleep, especially if the person working out was typically sedentary. Working out for between 30 and 60 minutes also helped people fall asleep and stay asleep. Cycling had the most sleep benefits.

A consistent exercise schedule is best, as exercising at different times of the evening could cause sleep disturbances, the researchers noted.

Based on the review, for healthy, young, and middle-aged adults with no history of sleep disorders, evening exercises should be performed in the early evening if possible. And lastly, sleep hygiene strategies should also be carried out, such as taking a shower between the cessation of exercise and bedtime and avoiding eating heavy meals or drinking a lot of water before going to bed.

Your strategy might also vary depending on whether you’re a night owl or an early riser. High-intensity exercise performed late in the evening can result in sleep disturbance for morning-type people.