Both exercise and sleep are important components of wellness – just like skin health is. Many of us have good intentions of exercising in the morning or during the day. However, we might not always find the time to exercise during those times. In general, being physically active tends to improve sleep. The question is whether or not exercising at night will cause sleep difficulties. The fact is, recent research shows that exercising at night will not disrupt your sleep… with a caveat.
Exercise increases our heart rate, increases our core body temperature, and gives us energy. In other words, exercise stimulates our bodies, which is the opposite of the usual recommendation of relaxation before sleep. So, it’s understandable why wellness professionals have recommended not exercising at night for years. However, a number of new research studies that changed our thinking were published within the past few years. Studies show exercising at night did not negatively impact the quality of sleep, sleep duration, nor did it decrease the time to fall asleep. But, there is a caveat. Exercising within 90 minutes of sleep will negatively impact sleep, especially if it’s moderate or high intensity exercise. Why 90 minutes? One theory is that after exercising, our body temperature will return back to its baseline within 90 minutes. It should be mentioned that research also shows that the impact of exercising at night is individualized, as every person is affected differently.
The next time you are debating about whether to exercise at night, go for it!