Is Working Out Before Bed Good For You? 5 Tips For Sweating It Out Before You Snooze
TBH, I will never ever be the type of person to wake up in the morning and start my day with a workout. Like, yeah, I'll get out of bed for a quality stack of pancakes, but a 9 a.m. cycling class? Hell nah. Still, I've always low-key wondered, is working out before bed good for you? If I'm being real, I'm not going to change my evening sweat sesh routine either way, but a girl's got to know.
First of all, exercising in general significantly improves your slumber, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But if you're specifically with me on that evening gym grind, we're in luck, because science says a little sweat before your snooze won't keep you awake by the time you crawl into bed. In a 2011 study from the Journal of Sleep Research, participants slept just as soundly on nights they worked out for 35 minutes as when they didn't exercise at all before going to sleep.
However, even though late-night #gains are totally acceptable, there are still a few things you should be cautious about. Here are five tips for sweating it out before you snooze so that you're not tossing and turning all night when it comes time to lay your head down.
1. Take A Cool Shower After Your Workout
Squeezing in a sweat sesh before you get some shut-eye increases your body heat and relaxes your muscles, which is awesome for relieving any tension and stress you may have built up throughout a long day.
However, it's best to have a slightly cooler body temperature right before you go to sleep to soothe your bod and support a interruption-free slumber.
Try aiming for a water temperature of around 50 degrees, and staying in for at least two to five minutes before you hit the hay.
2. Make Sure You Cool Down With Relaxing Stretches
It's always important to stretch both before and after a workout, but incorporating a few cool-down stretches or calming yoga poses is an especially great way to soothe your body after a bedtime workout.
You'll be ready for the most blissful sleep ever, and you may just be snoring before you can even say "namaste."
3. Meditate For A Little While After Your Sweat Sesh
Exercise is a healthy form of stress on the body, but it does still mean that it can make your levels of cortisol (aka the infamous stress hormone) spike a bit. While there's nothing wrong with this in general, it might not be the best right before bedtime.
According to a 2013 study, just a few minutes of meditation can lower those cortisol levels, leaving you completely blissed out just in time for that glorious face-plant onto your pillow. Can I get a collective "Om?"
Try deep breathing or a guided meditation to make the transition from burpees to bed that much easier.
4. Follow The Three Hour Rule
If you know working out gets you aggressively hyped up, you might want to incorporate the "three hour rule" into your life.
This simply means making sure that you have about three hours between the time when you finish your workout and when you hit the pillow, so your body has a chance to relax, your adrenaline levels chill out a bit.
5. Essential Oils Will Help You Relax After Sweating It Out
Ugh, essential oils, I love you, and you can do no wrong.
These bad boys are actually amazing before a workout to energize your sweat sesh. But, when you're trying to wind down after a challenging HIIT circuit, whip those babies out once more to help you fall asleep with ease.
Lavender, bergamot, and sandalwood are all incredible aromas that will help you relax and restore after hitting the gym or moving through some at-home exercises.
Pro tip: Try dabbing a few drops onto your pillow for a night guaranteed to be full of sweet dreams.