Some people have body goals that they cannot achieve due to lack of time. There are too many reasons- being busy at school, too much paperwork, busy with office work, or simply not having enough time during daylight. As a result, some are forced to work out during the night, right before bed.
According to research, working out or exercising before going to bed can have a massive effect on your heart rate, which will affect the cycle of your sleep. It will give you less to no benefit at all if you are regularly working out during nighttime and not during daylight.
There is an old belief stating that working out or exercising at night will help you get tired and fall asleep faster and better. But based on studies, working out late at night will have adverse effects on your body and health.
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Exercising Before Bed
Studies show that working out or exercising at night or before going to bed will increase your heartbeat or heart rate and affect your sleep. Exercising will dehydrate you, and your body will release stress hormones which can cause you to stay alert for a long time.
The bright light in your room or gym, plus the stress hormones, will stop your body from producing a sleep hormone called melatonin. Here are other reasons why you should not work out or exercise before going to sleep:
Less muscle growth
When you work out, especially with strength training and muscle-building exercises, you will break and tear muscle fibers. Rest is the best way for your muscles to repair and increase in size and strength. But because working out at night disrupts your sleep, it will also disrupt the repair of your muscles. Therefore, you will gain less muscle as a result.
Stimulates nervous system
Working out intensely will raise your heartbeat because of stimulation in your nervous system. Intense exercises would require the body to have more time before getting back to normal. As a result, your sleep gets disrupted. You may have the softest mattress or the most sleep-inducing environment, but if you work out intensely before bed, you will not sleep soundly. Some intense workouts include swimming, heavy weightlifting, cycling, and running.
Your nervous system needs time to regain or recuperate because it is an essential component for the coordination of your eye, hand, and legs. When your nervous system is overused or overtired, you will feel your body shaking and wobbling, leading to the soreness of your muscles, poor sleep, and pain.
Increase in alertness
During a workout or exercise, your activated adrenal glands will produce adrenaline, also known as epinephrine. The process will start with the pumping of more blood from your heart, leading to an increased heart rate. It will also increase the blood flow in your muscles and boost oxygen levels. When combined, all of these things can significantly disrupt your sleep.
Furthermore, since your alertness is at high levels, even the slightest sound or a small light peeking from outside your room can wake you up.
Acceptable Night Exercises
Not all exercises have adverse effects on your sleep. So if you want to be active during night time, you must choose which activities you are going to do.
It is better to do light to moderate intensity exercises if you will work out at night. Unlike weightlifting and strength training exercises, these activities will help you fall asleep faster and have a high-quality sleep.
Remember to complete your workout for at least 1 hour before going to sleep. If you can, do your best to finish it at least 90 minutes before going to bed. This time is enough for your body to relax and wind down.
These are the best light to moderate exercises that you can do:
- Light to moderate weightlifting
- Biking leisurely
- Swimming leisurely
It would help if you avoided high-intensity workouts in the evening. As we said earlier, these activities can stimulate your nervous system and increase your heart rate. High-intensity exercises will affect your sleep or make it hard for you to fall asleep.
These are high-intensity exercises that you should avoid doing at night:
- Heavy weightlifting
- Competitive cycling
- Jumping rope
- Laps of swimming
- High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT
In conclusion, it is not advisable to work out or exercise during the night or before going to sleep. Exercising later at night will make it harder for you to fall asleep. Sleep is vital for your body to repair and grow. So working out before bedtime will lessen your gains and slow you down on achieving your goals.
But it is up to you to try what’s good for you. If you see that working out or exercising at night affects you positively, then you can continue doing it.
Meta title: Exercising Before Bed: Is It Bad For Your Body?
meta desc: Experts highly suggest avoiding exercising before bedtime. Why? Because physical activities can cause poor sleep quality. This article will explain why working out at night is a bad idea.