If late night exercise leaves you tossing and turning, try these snooze-soundly strategies
For the most part, evidence supports the fact that exercise is good for sleep—it helps you drift off faster and sleep sounder all night long. Still, ever find that working out too close to bedtime can actually give you a jolt of energy that winds up keeping you awake for longer? You're not alone. In one study, participants slept 42 minutes longer on days they were less active.
If that’s the case for you—but your schedule won’t allow you to squeeze your sweat session for earlier in the day—you don’t have to resign yourself to getting little rest on the nights you plan to workout. These three tips will help you doze off effortlessly, even if you’re hopping straight from squats into the sack.
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Save your truly heart-pounding workouts for the days when you have more free time in the morning, and use your evening exercise slots for less-intense options, like a walk or super-easy run or—even better—vinyasa yoga. In fact, no matter what you do, consider ending nighttime workouts with a few poses, like Happy Baby or Corpse pose. The soothing movements and focus on breath will help you wind down, preparing you for bed.
Cool Down Quicker
Getting into bed when you’re still sticky from your weightlifting session or treadmill run is practically guaranteed to make snoozing a struggling. On the other hand, taking a warm bath or shower before slipping on your PJs will ensure you’re comfy enough to drift off. Plus, research shows that core temperature naturally dips just before bedtime, which helps jumpstart your body’s sleep systems. When you get out of the steamy shower and begin to dry off, your body temp will also fall a few degrees, triggering drowsiness.
Try a Midnight Snack
Refueling after a late-night workout is all about balance: Eat too much, and you’ll feel too full and bloated to hit the hay; too little, and your rumbling tummy will keep you up. Your best bet is to grab a light snack that contains carbs and protein, both of which are essential for proper recovery. Some good choices: whole-grain toast with peanut butter or hummus, a glass of chocolate milk, or low-fat cheese and crackers.