Exercise does a lot of good things for the body. We all know this. However, you'll have to time your next workout right, or it's going to be bad for your sleeping pattern.
This is the conclusion of a team of researchers from Concordia University, when they observed that squeezing some exercise two hours before bedtime can make people take longer to fall asleep, writes Safety And Health Magazine. Overall sleep duration is also decreased.
If you want to sleep soundly at night and still want to sneak in a quick exercise session, you'll have to make sure it ends two or more hours before you tuck in.
Furthermore, if you really want to have a restful sleep, you'll need to do some vigorous exercise in the early evening.
That's because this specific type of exercise, according to the researchers, plays a big role in the decrease of restful REM (rapid-eye movement sleep) if you time it close to bedtime.
The researchers used data from a total of 15 other studies, wherein they considered variables such as fitness level, workout duration and intensity, and specific types of physical activity.
Their study is published online in the Sleep Medicine Reviews journal, for those who'd like to do some further reading.
Exercise Schedules Should Be Consistent
With these findings, study author Emmanuel Frimpong from Concordia University's Sleep, Cognition, and Neuroimaging Lab is recommending that you plan out your exercise routines in a consistent schedule.
Frimpong states that working out at rapidly varied times in the evening can disturb the normal sleep cycle.
Another recommendation Frimpong makes is that folks should consider whether they're morning or evening people because, for instance, vigorous exercise done late at night could disturb the sleep patterns of morning folks.
When Should You Exercise for Better Sleep, Then?
As suggested by the study, you'll need to at least schedule your exercise routine to end two or more hours before going to bed.
However, there really is no universally accepted time of day for any workout that helps promote restful sleep, writes The Sleep Foundation.
For now, maybe it would be best to plan your next workout around your sleep schedule. This could be a good start, as maintaining a regular bedtime schedule can ensure your circadian rhythm (aka body clock) remains constant.
Thankfully, there's a host of sleep tracking apps that you can use for both Android and iOS which can, with the right usage, improve the quality of your sleep.
And once you figure out the best time to go to bed and wake up, then you can plan your exercise routines accordingly.
What Kind of Exercise Is Good Before Bedtime?
As much as possible, only go for light or moderate-intensity physical activity, writes Healthline.
This could be anything from yoga, stretching, biking or swimming leisurely, walking, or even some light weightlifting.
At the end of the day though, the concept of "tiring yourself out" with exercise before bed is not an effective way to get a good night's sleep.
Related Article: Safe and Effective Ways To Treat Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
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Written by RJ Pierce