Should I Work Out at Night?
Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for your health. Depending on your preferences and schedule, nighttime might be when it’s most convenient for you. But if you’re considering working out before bed, the benefits should be weighed against the drawbacks.
This article answers the frequently asked question, “Is it okay to work out at night?”
What Are the Benefits of Working Out Before Bed?In addition to having more free time in the evening, many people enjoy a few important benefits from working out before bed. The advantages of getting at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise may include:
Improved sleepExercise increases your core temperature. When you complete your workout, it starts dropping, which can cause you to feel sleepy and, consequently, fall asleep faster. You may also get more and deeper sleep, helping you feel well-rested in the morning.
Increased energy the next dayAnother of the benefits of exercise on sleep is that you may have more energy the following day compared to when you don’t work out at night.
Blow off steamThe benefits of working out aren’t all sleep-related. Exercising can help you put the day’s stresses behind you. A good workout also causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins that can elevate your mood, enabling you to enjoy the remainder of your evening more.
What Are the Drawbacks of Working Out Before Bed?Each person’s response to exercise before bed is different. Some people find that working out too close to bedtime causes problems, including:
Disrupted sleepGetting too “amped up” by a workout can reduce your sleep quality and the number of hours you get. If you exercise in the evening, you should experiment with the timing and intensity of your workouts to seek a combination that doesn’t interfere with your sleep or, ideally, improves it. For example, you might do more vigorous workouts a few hours or more before bedtime, whereas later in the evening, you could opt for something less strenuous like walking, stretching, or yoga.
You may be too tiredAnother drawback to evening workouts is that your energy level may drop at the end of your day. As a result, your intensity and technique may suffer, resulting in a less-effective workout.
Listen to Your Body When Exercising at Night
Is it okay to work out at night? The short answer is that you may find it is or that it’s not a good idea for you. There’s clearly a connection between exercise and sleep. Whether it’s a positive or negative relationship depends on many factors. The key is paying attention to the potential benefits of exercising before bedtime (better sleep quality and quantity) and the drawbacks (decreased sleep or workout quality) and doing what helps you achieve your fitness and sleep goals.
If you generally struggle to get restful sleep, our sleep medicine experts can help.