Post-exercise insomnia: How late workouts can disrupt your sleep and what to do about it

If you’ve ever decided that a little late-night exercise might help you sleep, you might be doing more harm than good.

You might think that a little bit of exercise before bed will tire you out enough for a restorative night’s sleep, but actually it’s more likely to disturb your sleep.

We found out everything you need to know from Sleep Matters Club.

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How does exercise affect your sleep?

Generally, post-workout you’re probably a little dehydrated.

Dehydration leads to an increased heart rate and can make it difficult to bring down your core body temperature, crucial to help you get to sleep.

Exercise also produces the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine which will keep your body feeling alert.

Cortisol and bright lights at the gym stops the production of melatonin – the sleep hormone.

Why is sleep important after exercise?

Physical activity puts stress on your muscles and nervous system. These are both rebuilt during sleep.

A strenuous workout will cause microscopic tears in your muscles. During sleep your muscles receive extra oxygen and nutrients to help them grow and heal.

Your pituitary gland releases growth hormones which helps your muscle tissue and new cells are regenerated.

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How to get to sleep after a workout

To make sure your exercise routine doesn’t upset your sleep pattern, try not to work out less than three hours before going to bed.

Drink lots of water before, during and after exercising.

After getting all hot and bothered in the gym, have a hot bath or shower and keep your bedroom cool.

The process of warming up your body and then cooling down again helps you get ready to go to sleep.

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