October 17, 2017
Exercising Before Sleep
Ask the Experts

Exercising Before Sleep

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

Q: Will evening exercise have a negative effect on sleep?

A: It depends how late. Standard sleep advice says you shouldn’t exercise moderately or vigorously within a few hours of bedtime. It’s true that for most people it’s not a good idea to exercise right before bedtime. But most studies have found that early evening exercise does not impair sleep quality.

Exercise has a variety of potentially sleep-impairing and sleep-enhancing effects on the body. Notably, it can raise heart rate, body temperature and alertness, which, if they remain elevated, could interfere with sleep. On the other hand, exercise can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety, a plus for sleep.

Keep in mind that the effects of exercise on sleep vary from person to person and depend not only on fitness level and sleep problems (if any), but also on the type, length, timing and intensity of the workout. If you think evening exercise is interfering with your sleep, see if earlier workouts improve matters.