Over the past couple of weeks we have been looking at different correlations between sleep and exercise. This week we are going to look at sleep and exercise from a different angle to show how exercise before bed can affect your sleep habits. If you tend to exercise one or two hours before bed, read on…
We will be breaking this topic into three sections: light exercise before sleep, heavy exercise before sleep, and how the affects of exercise before sleep can be different for everyone. Should you exercise before bed? Let’s find out…
Light Exercise Before Bed
If you are one of those people who like doing some light cardio or stretching before bed you don’t need to worry about changing these habits. Light exercise before bed such as walking your dog, playing with your kids or stretching are not significantly linked to poor sleep habits. In fact, these activities may even help you sleep better by allowing you to clear your mind from the day’s tasks before getting some shut eye.
If you fall into this category of light pre-bed exercises, carry on unless you think it may be affecting your sleep habits negatively.
Heavy Exercise Before Bed
Looking on the other side of the spectrum, those of you who participate in heavy exercise before sleeping might be negatively affecting the quality of sleep you get at night. Heavy exercise can include heavy weight lifting, intense cardio, or HIIT training. Heavy exercise before bed may cause you to toss and turn more before falling asleep and cause you to wake up more frequently during the night.
Exercising Before Bed Affects Everyone Differently
You should keep in mind, however, that these exercises before bed may have different effects on different individuals. Some people might go to the gym and push themselves heavily, then go home and sleep like a baby an hour or two later. Others may have trouble sleeping shortly after doing light activities. It all depends on how your body reacts to these activates.
The best thing you can do to find out if your exercise is causing a poor night’s sleep is by doing a little test. If you participate in heavy exercise before bed, compare your quality of sleep to nights when you do not workout before bed. If you feel that it is affecting your sleep, adjust your schedule accordingly.
For those of you taking the IdealShape Up Challenge, you can also do this test. If you usually do the daily workout and challenge right before going to bed, try doing it in the morning instead and see how it affects your sleep habits. Remember, both sleep and exercise should be an important part of your weight loss plan on the path toward reaching your ideal shape.