Table of contents:
Video: Exercising In The Evening Doesn't Harm Sleep, It Improves It
Exercising in the evening doesn't harm sleep, it improves it
Contrary to popular belief, there is no reason to avoid exercise in the evening. Not too intense exercise can be done almost on the eve of going to bed.
Photo: pixabay.com /
Contrary to popular belief, there is no reason to avoid exercise in the evening, according to a scientific literature analysis conducted by the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport at ETH in Zurich and published in Sports Medicine.
A literature review led the Swiss researchers to conclude that exercising less than 4 hours before bed does not negatively impact sleep. A light load is acceptable practically on the eve of bedtime.
“If exercising in the evening has any effect on sleep quality, it’s more of a positive, albeit minor, effect,” said Christina Spengler, head of the Exercise Physiology Lab.
By combining data from different studies, the researchers found that after exercising, 21.2% of the night's sleep was in deep sleep. Whereas in the absence of evening physical activity, the average rate of deep sleep was 19.9%. Although the difference is small, it is statistically significant, as deep sleep phases are especially important for physical recovery.
According to our analysis, the only exercise that can have a negative effect on sleep is vigorous training an hour before bed. However, this is only a preliminary observation based on data from one study.
“Generally, vigorous training is defined as training in which the person cannot speak. Moderate training is physical activity of a sufficiently high intensity that a person can no longer sing, but can speak,”explained Christina Spengler.
Study participants who exercised intensely shortly before bed took longer to fall asleep. The researchers also figured out the reason for this: the subjects were unable to recover enough an hour before bedtime. Their hearts were still beating more than 20 beats per minute faster than their resting pulse should be.
Sports doctors officially recommend that you do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. Performing them did not cause sleep problems in any study, even when the workout ended just 30 minutes before bedtime.
“Not everyone responds to exercise the same way, and people need to continue to listen to their bodies. If they notice that they are having trouble falling asleep after exercising, they should try to exercise a little earlier,”said Jan Stutz, lead author of the review.
“It is well known that exercising during the day improves sleep quality. Now we have shown that at least exercise in the evening does not have a negative effect,”added Christine Spengler.
Also, evening workouts are beneficial for hypertension as they help lower high blood pressure, as evidenced by a study by the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.