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Cannot Sleep After Exercise

author image Jonathan Croswell
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.
Cannot Sleep After Exercise
Trying to sleep soon after a workout isn't likely to be successful. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Many people suffer from difficulty sleeping. The reasons can be many and complicated, with some individuals suffering from a combination of factors that make consistent, restful sleep harder to attain. Although exercise is touted as a way to improve the quality of your sleep, in some cases it can make sleep more difficult. If you are trying to sleep soon after exercising, you might be making things harder on yourself.

Exercise Benefits on Sleep

Many people use exercise to improve their sleep habits. But it's all a matter of timing, and depending on when you exercise, the effect might be the reverse. Many people like early morning or afternoon workouts to help invigorate them and help them feel more energetic as they go through a full day or work or classes. Immediately following moderate exercise, you are likely to feel very awake, which could be frustrating if you are hoping to sleep shortly after exercise. Late night exercise is likely to leave you feeling wide awake, and you will find it difficult to fall asleep.


Even when you finish a workout, the body takes a long time to calm down. Endorphins and other chemicals have been released to make you more alert and energetic. Your body is also slow to fully cool down and calm down after exercise, and until this happens, you will be fighting an uphill battle when trying to relax and sleep. In fact, exercise can cause your core temperature to be increased for four or five hours after working out.

Changing Your Routine

The simplest way to improve your ability to sleep is by moving your exercise period to a different time. Chesapeake Neurology recommends finishing your exercise at least three hours before bed. Exercise in the late afternoon, about four or five hours before bedtime, to catch your core temperature's post-exercise decline and make it easier to fall asleep. You can also exercise earlier in the day depending on your schedule, and particularly if you want to benefit from post-exercise alertness.


Although your exercise schedule may be affecting your ability to sleep, other factors can make sleep difficult. In fact, a lack of exercise during the day can make it harder to fall asleep. Moderate exercise can aid individuals trying to combat sleeping troubles. And if insomnia persists, you should visit a doctor to have potential physical or mental factors evaluated, since there are many influences that can make it more difficult to sleep.

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