Five Tips to Avoid Post-Workout Insomnia –
Exercise is good for sleep. It helps you sleep faster and sounder all night. The 2013 Sleep in America poll of the National Sleep Foundation showed that almost 83% of people who exercise at any time of the day sleep better than those who do not exercise.
Some people’s schedule doesn’t allow them to work out earlier in the day, so they do the sweat sessions during the night. However, you might find that working out too close to your bedtime can give you more energy that can keep you awake longer at night. Post-workout insomnia can make you toss and turn, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.
If your only chance to exercise is during the night, there are other ways to treat insomnia. These five tips can prevent your nighttime workout sessions from keeping you awake all night.
Set a Routine
Setting a routine can prevent post-workout insomnia. According to Sleep by the National Sleep Foundation, compared with those who exercise at a later time in the day, those who work out on a treadmill at 7 in the morning sleep longer, experience deeper sleep cycles, and spend 75% more time in the most reparative stages of sleep.
If you cannot exercise in the morning, creating a daily routine and scheduling your workouts at the same time during the night can help your body clock adjust. If you exercise every night, you can sleep better than when you work out occasionally.
Building a daily routine can help your body clock adjust to your activities and prevent workout insomnia.
Do Low-Impact Exercises
If you do not have free time in the morning and can only work out at night, do low-impact exercises to prevent experiencing post-workout insomnia. Other forms of exercise such as low-intensity yoga, stretching, and tai-chi are recommended as perfect activities to help you sleep.
A low-intensity workout like yoga lowers stress levels, calms your mind, and relieves the tension in the body. Certain yoga poses like Halasana and Uttanasana, according to the Yoga Journal, can help in combatting restlessness and insomnia especially when you practice during the night.
Low-impact exercises can help you unwind, clear your mind, and relax before hitting the sack.
Take a Bath to Cool Down
Taking a warm bath or shower after working out and before going to sleep can make you feel comfortable to drift off. Research conducted by Raymann, Swaab, and Van Someren shows that temperature is important when it comes to sleep quality. A drop in body temperature can help with sleeping.
However, exercise increases body temperature. The body’s temperature naturally dips before bed. A warm bath or shower after your workout can help your body temperature fall a few degrees which can trigger sleepiness.
A warm bath or shower after working out can help keep your body cool down faster, making it easier for you to sleep and avoid post-workout insomnia.
Eat a Post Workout Snack
Eating after working out is all about balance. Eating too much can make you feel full and bloated while eating a little can make your stomach rumble. Both can prevent you from falling asleep.
Grab a light snack that contains protein and carbohydrates which are important for proper recovery. A whole-grain cracker topped with cottage cheese is a good snack to try. Cottage cheese contains protein that aids in creating the sleep-promoting amino acid tryptophan. The crackers have carbohydrates that increase tryptophan availability in the brain.
Enjoying a post-workout snack satisfies you and promotes better sleep.
Drinking fluids to stay hydrated while exercising can help prevent post-workout insomnia. During your workout, you lose water in your body which can cause dehydration. Dehydration is known to increase cortisol.
Water is good to avoid consuming foods with empty calories and for hydrating. A research entitled Effect of Hydration State on Testosterone and Cortisol Responses to Training-Intensity Exercise in Collegiate Runners showed that maintaining hydration during training can reduce cortisol levels. If your cortisol level is elevated, it promotes sleep deprivation.
Staying hydrated while working out can help reduce your cortisol response and will aid you to sleep better at night.
Exercise and sleep are equally important for your health. The key is to develop a routine where you can optimize both. If insomnia still persists, visit a medical professional, like a dentist specializing in sleep problems, to have yourself evaluated and get treatment for insomnia.