There's no question that regular exercise helps improve quality of sleep. After a long day at the office, many people are mentally tired but not physically fatigued enough for sleep. To solve this, some people go for a jog or go to the gym before work. For others, it simply isn't plausible to get up and work out that early in the morning.
These people basically have two other options. Some choose to work
out right after work, usually before dinner and others choose to work
out right before bed. However, the benefits of option number two are
up for debate.
Traditionally, exercising before bed has been seen as detrimental
to your health, simply for the reason that it can disrupt your sleep.
This shows how important getting quality sleep really is. On the
surface, this logic makes a lot of sense. When you exercise, many
things happen to your body.
First of all, your body heats up quite a bit and you begin to
sweat. Eventually, lots of adrenaline is released as well as other
stimulating hormones. Experts say that it takes about three hours
after exercise for your body to return to normal. This is important
because the requirements for sleep are completely opposite of how
your body is during and after exercise.
For example, when you fall asleep, your body temperature decreases
slightly. This is much harder for your body to accomplish when your
temperature is already elevated. Also, adrenaline coursing through
your veins doesn't exactly say sleep and relaxation either.
Supporters of this theory say that it is important to exercise at
least four to six hours before your desired bedtime.
While this has been the belief for many years, some people
disagree. In one study, researchers had college students exercise two
nights a week, one night ninety minutes before bed and one night
thirty minutes before bed. The hypothesis was that the closer to
bedtime students exercised, the more difficulty they would have
falling asleep and the more their sleep would be disrupted. What they
found, however, was quite different. The students experienced no
difference in sleep quality with the difference in exercise timing.
From these results, researchers suggested that exercising might be a
good way to let loose and relax before bed.
Both sides have logical reasoning behind them, and it could just
be that exercising before bed affects different people differently.
The only way to find out how it affects you is to try it out for