Is your workout causing you not to sleep as well as you would expect? Did you think working out during the evening would make you sleep deeper?
The most common cause of not sleeping after working out is your body temperature is high, and you are probably dehydrated. Take a cool shower before bed to lower your body temperature to enhance your ability to sleep soundly. Drink lots of fluids pre and post-workout to stay hydrated.
Here are a few tips to help you sleep better after working out:
- Finish your workout a few hours before bed: It is generally best to finish your workout a few hours before bed to give your body time to wind down and relax.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns. Try to avoid consuming these substances for at least a few hours before bed.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet. Use earplugs or a white noise machine to block out noise, and invest in a comfortable bed and pillows.
- Use relaxation techniques: Try using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation to help you relax and sleep better.
- Consider using sleep aids: If you are having difficulty sleeping after working out, it may be helpful to try over-the-counter sleep aids or prescription sleep medication. However, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional before using any sleep aids.
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
- Get plenty of natural light: Exposure to natural light during the day can help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to spend some time outside during the day, or use a light therapy box to help improve your sleep quality.
Why is it hard to sleep after working out?
There are reasons why sleeping is difficult after working out during the evening. Guys who work out tend to consume energy drinks throughout the workout to boost their energy levels so they can work out harder.
Energy drinks are normally full of sugar that gives you that extra boost when working out, but some contain stimulants such as caffeine.
If your energy drink has caffeine, it will affect your sleep for up to 10 hours after you consume the drink.
You have probably become dehydrated for those who don’t drink energy drinks during your workout.
When dehydrated, your heart rate increases making it almost impossible to sleep while in this condition.
It is essential to hydrate before and during your workout and after the workout.
Body temperature is another issue. When engaging in a strenuous exercise like weight lifting or running long distances, you begin to sweat, and your core temperature rises the more your work out.
Being hot interrupts sleep, and to prevent a sleepless night take a cool to cold shower before bed to lower your body’s temperature.
How to prevent post-exercise insomnia
Give yourself adequate time to workout before bedtime. Leave at least a 3 hours gap between your workout and the time you hit the sack.
Keep hydrated, and it goes without saying that you should remain hydrated throughout the day, especially while working out. If you are sweating copiously during your workout, you need to replace these fluids and the fluids you naturally lose throughout the day.
Drinking caffeine can boost your workout routine but make sure it is a cup of coffee and not a caffeine-laced energy drink that is loaded with caffeine and other stimulants.
Avoid drinking coffee or energy drinks after your workout.
If you think a hot shower will soothe your aching muscles, think again. A hot shower will not prepare you for bed after a workout because your body temperature is higher than normal.
Have a cool shower leaning more towards cold than warm to cool your body and prevent disturbed sleep through the night.
How to sleep after exercise
Evidence supports that there are no adverse effects on sleep from exercise, but insomnia after working out is real and needs to be addressed if you want to sleep well and perform well the next day.
Learning how to sleep after exercise is an essential part of your workout regime; without sleep, your physique will suffer, and you will not make any gains in muscle mass.
Having a sleeping routine should be considered if you do struggle to sleep after your workouts.
Humans are creatures of habit, we love routine, and nothing is more accurate than when it comes to sleep. If you sleep at the same time every day, including weekends, your sleep will be enhanced.
Decide on a time you wish to sleep every day that is optimum for your lifestyle but ensure you have a sleeping block of at least 7 hours.
Your sleeping routine may turn into your sleeping ritual as you start to appreciate the benefits of regular sleep at the same time every day.
Star with the basics early in the evening pre-workout, eat a light meal if possible. Light meals with more protein are better for muscle protein synthesis, so skip the big heavy meals pre and post-workout.
Stay clear of foods that might prevent you from sleeping, like spicy chicken or fried foods. These types of foods encourage upset stomachs, excess gas build-up and generally are capable of disrupting your sleep.
Drink water through the evening after your workout. A protein smoothie is OK if it’s bland in taste and will not affect your sleep.
Read a magazine or book, try to avoid computer screens if possible. The blue light emitted is like daylight and will fool your brain into thinking it’s not time to sleep.
After your cool to a cold shower, sleep in a cool, dark bedroom. Sleeping in a cool room will help you drift off to sleep.
If you are lying awake, don’t clock watch. Clock-watching can build anxiety, further preventing you from sleeping.
It is essential to find the best possible way to sleep after a workout if you are to function the next day.
Is it OK to work out at 8 pm?
Experts from the sleep foundation do not recommend working out after 8 pm; strenuous exercise can prevent you from sleeping and affect your performance the next day.
There is no direct correlation between working out and not sleeping correctly; it’s natural to assume if you have worked your muscles hard, they need to rest and repair; this is true.
However, because of dehydration and increased body temperature during your workout, insomnia has become very real after working out.
If you are serious about working out and have taken the time to read up on the do’s and don’ts, you can work out pretty much when you like.
The real reason sleep has become an issue after working out is the ubiquitous energy drinks consumed in the gym in the hope of one more repetition!
If you can avoid energy drinks that contain caffeine and other stimulants, then you would be able to sleep, but stimulant-free drinks are not readily available, and if they were, why not just drink plain old weather to hydrate yourself?