Waking up tired? Try working out before bedtime

Published on: 16/06/2022

Allow yourself to sleep better by engaging in a short exercise routine that serves as a calming transition just before your bedtime.

It was a long day at work. After the long commute home, all you want to do is lie down and watch the latest Netflix hit. You let yourself go, and the next thing you know, it’s tomorrow! But, it feels like you haven’t gotten any rest at all. What gives?

Well, it’s likely that you haven’t been getting enough physical activity. The Sleep Foundation reports that exercise is a huge part of maintaining good sleep hygiene. While not many of us have the luxury of an exercise-conducive schedule, it’s important for each of us to try and move a bit to improve our cardiovascular and sleep health. After all, regular exercise has been proven time and time again to improve the lifestyles of active people around the globe. 

Since most people are often preoccupied with work, exercising within a short time frame wherein no obligations can keep you chained is optimal. For many people, this is likely to be during the night hours, after all e-mails have been replied to and all calls have been answered. 

Nunez (2020) suggests working out for around 30 minutes per day to improve overall health, aiming for at least 150 minutes per week. When exercising at night, it’s not advised to perform high-intensity training activities like running, weightlifting, and swimming. However, if you prefer doing these exercises, try not to stress your body too much, as strenuous workouts can raise your heart rate and stimulate your nervous system, delaying sleep time. But even mild exercise can hinder your sleep in some cases, so try to work out around 1.5 to 4 hours before sleeping (as necessary) and find what works for you.

The Sleep Foundation supports the effects of exercise on sleep, saying that if you suffer from interrupted sleep or end up groggy when you wake up, exercise may be the solution you need. After all, multiple studies suggest that exercise definitely helps improve sleep quality. 

Evening exercise, if sufficient in intensity and time, can be supplemented by minor morning stretches to get more physical activity in your daily routine. This is important, especially if you’re working a desk job where little-to-no movement is being done. Exercising in both the morning and evening promotes good quality deep sleep, maximizing the little rest time afforded by the modern worker’s schedule.

To give some insight on the science of it, exercise lowers the amount of the hormone orexin, which triggers feelings of wakefulness. The reduction of this hormone allows our body to produce more melatonin, which tells our brain that it’s time to sleep.

All-in-all, the incorporation of exercise, whether in the morning or at night, can improve your health in many ways. From reducing risk of heart disease to improving sleep quality, exercise plays a vital role in ensuring that our bodies remain in top shape, ready to face new days to come. Even if the tight schedules of the modern work schedule confine many to sedentary environments, even a small amount of exercise can go a long way in improving your health.

The Sleep Foundation. (2022). What’s the Best Time of Day to Exercise for Sleep? https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-activity/best-time-of-day-to-exercise-for-sleep

Nunez, K. (2020). Can Exercising Before Bed Affect Your Sleep? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/working-out-before-bed