Is Working Out Before Bed a Bad Idea?
In the past we’ve been told late-night workouts can really screw with your sleep. Working out jacks up your heart rate, raises your core body temperature, and sends stimulating hormones like cortisol and adrenaline coursing throughout the body. All of this couldn’t be ideal for fluttering eyelids, right?
The latest research suggests otherwise. A study in the Journal of Sleep Research found that people who exercise vigorously for 35 minutes right before bed slept just as well as they did on nights when they didn’t. And a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation found 83 percent of people who exercised — regardless of the time of day — reported better and more restful sleep than those who didn’t work out.
So why doesn’t exercise, which can feel as stimulating as a cup of coffee, sabotage our sleep goals? “Most people experience a drop in those stimulating hormones like cortisol and adrenaline within an hour or so after you workout, which puts your body in that relaxed, ready-to-sleep state,” says personal trainer Noam Tamir, founder and program director of TS Fitness studio in New York City. (Loose muscles and a dropping body temp can relax you as well.) “So while you probably don’t want to hit the sheets 10 minutes, or even a half hour, after exercising, most people can get solid shuteye if they lay down an hour or two later.”