Does What Time You Work Out Matter?
Are you a morning person or an evening workout warrior? Believe it or not, the time of day that you hit the gym may play a role in your ability to get some quality Z’s.
“The early bird gets the worm,” right? Morning workouts are typically the best choice for those who want to stay consistent, as getting them done at the crack of dawn prevents you from pushing them aside when other daily obstacles present themselves.
But, morning workouts also have another bonus – deeper sleep at night. In fact, people who work out on the treadmill at 7 a.m. tend to sleep longer, experience deeper sleep cycles and spend 75 percent more time in the most reparative stages of slumber, according to Sleep.com.
After Work(out Warrior)
Working out in the afternoon has benefits for both performance and shut-eye. Typically, your body is one to two degrees warmer in the afternoon than when you first wake up, allowing your muscles to work more efficiently. As a result, you’ll have a lower risk of injury and be able to complete complex movements more effectively.
As you’d expect, working out in the afternoon should help you fall asleep faster and wake up less frequently during the night. This may be because exercise raises your body temperature for about 4 to 5 hours, and after that, it eventually decreases. When this happens, it signals your body to start shifting into sleep mode.
Don’t Do This
Just like you wouldn’t drink a cup of coffee right before bed, we recommend avoiding high-intensity workouts as well. The boost in body temperature that comes with an evening workout, along with its stimulating nature, might interfere with falling asleep.
Exercises for a Better Night’s Sleep
Cardio! Cardio! Cardio! – Any activity that gets your heart rate up, like running, spinning or swimming, has been shown to improve sleep and battle insomnia. Even a shorter workout, like 15 minutes, will help.
Strength Training – Shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep dips, calf raises, push-ups, squats and lunges will not only make you stronger, but they’ll also build muscle, which help you fall asleep faster.
Yoga – Relaxing poses and stretches, not to mention calming breathing exercises, are especially helpful if stress is keeping you from falling asleep.