3 Ways to Prevent Post-Workout Insomnia

If late-night exercise leaves you tossing and turning, try these strategies for sleeping soundly after getting your sweat on.

model lying in bed and looking off in the distance with a clock reading 2 o'clock
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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? Yeah, that's a common issue with squeezing in your exercise right before bed.

If that's the case for you — but your schedule won't allow you to squeeze in your routine earlier in the day — you don't have to resign yourself to getting little rest on the nights you plan to work out. (You don't have to skip out on sleep to work out in the a.m., either.) These three tips will help you doze off effortlessly, even if you're hopping straight from squats into the sack.

Go Low-Impact

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, such as a calming walk or a super-easy run. Or, even better, try doing vinyasa yoga to wind down your day (for example, this 15-minute yoga flow). In fact, no matter what you do, consider ending nighttime workouts with a few poses, such as happy baby or Savasana. 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 struggle. On the other hand, taking a warm bath or soothing shower before slipping on your pajamas 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. (Here's how to master the art of the post-workout bath.)

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 post-workout 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.

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