Cannot Sleep After Exercise

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.

Trying to sleep soon after a workout isn't likely to be successful. (Image: Thomas Barwick/Taxi/GettyImages)

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 of 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.

Unable to Sleep After Workout

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. If you have trouble sleeping after working out, John Hopkins Medicine suggests stopping exercise one to two hours before sleeping. That gives the body time to "wash out" the endorphins.

Changing Your Routine

A experiment well worth doing and the simplest way to improve your ability to sleep is by moving your exercise period to a different time. Some people can't sleep after exercise in the morning and some have difficulty when they workout later in the day. 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 and have trouble sleeping after working out. Mayo Clinic suggests spending some time exercising out of doors. Fresh air is a natural sleep inducer.

Try More Moderate Exercise

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. Harvard Health says exercise can help you sleep better. 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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