Does Working Out at Night Cause Insomnia?
Time is something that we all wish we had more of. With it, we could be so much more productive: we would organise our apartments, get our finances in order (isn’t that something that people do?), and—in an ideal world—start every day with a sweat-inducing, blood-pumping workout. Instead, the reality is that that we never seem to have enough time, and usually only manage to squeeze these tasks in the only slot available in our chaotic schedules: right before bed (if that at all). With over 30% of Americans suffering from some type of insomnia, we can’t help but wonder if our pre-bed flurry of activity is to blame—and more specifically, our late night gym sessions. An adrenaline rush doesn’t exactly sound like the precursor to a peaceful snooze, after all.
Surprisingly, when we asked around the Byrdie offices, opinions were divided—some editors swore by a good nighttime workout to get a peaceful nights’ rest, while others said they avoided it at all costs .We did whatever we do in situations like this: turn to science, of course. Ahead, you’ll find out the truth about working out before bed, and see for yourself if you should restrict your Spin sessions to the a.m. Keep scrolling to find out the facts!
Turns out, exercise at any time of day can actually help you sleep better, according to a study from the National Sleep Institute. Of the 1,000 people interviewed, vigorous exercisers reported the best sleep (a whopping 83%!), while 50% of those who said they didn’t exercise said they got the worst sleep. Plus, more than 50% of vigorous to moderate exercises said that they actually slept better on days when they worked out. Digging even deeper, a 2011 study found that people who exercised just 35 minutes before bed slept just as well as on nights when they didn’t workout before bed. (The study did find that subjects’ heart rates were increased for the first three hours after falling asleep, but that this didn’t affect the sleep quality.) So, it seems that science would suggest that exercise at any time of the day will benefit your sleep pattern, whether you're doing it first thing in the morning, or after your nightly Game of Thrones binge.
One last note: researchers do recommend that you limit your sweat session to at least an hour or two before bed if you have a history of insomnia.
Speaking on working out, keep scrolling to shop some of our gym bag beauty essentials.