Evening exercise is unlikely to impair sleep in most people, unless they do it vigorously during the hour before bedtime, according to an analysis of 23 small studies, published in Sleep Medicine in February 2019. Sleep experts generally advise not exercising within a few hours of bedtime.
But the analysis, which included 275 healthy people (average age 29, generally good sleepers), found negative effects on sleep quality and quantity only when vigorous exercise was done within an hour of bedtime. In contrast, moderate evening exercise, even when done shortly before bedtime, had no adverse effects on sleep overall and, in fact, may have had some small benefits.
Keep in mind that the effects of exercise on sleep may vary from person to person, depending not only on their fitness level and sleep problems (if any) but also on the type of workout. Older people may be more likely to be affected by evening exercise.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Chamomile Tea for Better Sleep?