Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health but so is working out.
Studies have shown that we need to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Falling short of that has been linked to illness, memory loss, weight gain and depression.
Unfortunately, our busy schedules can make logging those 7 hours feel like an impossibility. That’s especially true if you try to fit in a regular exercise session during the day.
If your schedule keeps you from working out in the morning or afternoon, you may have no choice but to do it at night. Though this may work, it can also cause a new problem – insomnia.
Some studies have shown that people who work out too close to their bedtime have a hard time falling asleep.
Sleep experts say that as long as you give yourself two hours or more between exercise and bedtime, you should be fine.Tweet
But there are other things you can do to make sure that your late-in-the-day workout doesn’t keep you from a good night of sleep.
5 Ways to Sleep Well after a Late Workout
1. Build a bedtime routine
Remember when you were little and you’d fall asleep as soon as your head hit the pillow?
Chances are that’s because you had a nightly routine that never changed. Maybe it was dinner and TV followed by a bath and then a bedtime story. Maybe it was cookies and milk each night.
Whatever it was, it cued your brain that the next thing to do was to go to sleep. You can do the same thing for yourself as an adult.
Work out at the same time each night. Then go home and create a nightly pattern that your brain will learn means bedtime.
2. Let your body cool down
The faster the better. Studies have shown that when we sleep, our body temperature drops.
You can speed up the process of falling asleep by cooling down fast before bed.
A hot shower or bath may seem like it does the opposite, but when you leave the heat, your body cools quickly. So go ahead and indulge in that long hot soak before bed!
3. Calm your mind
The biggest thing that keeps people up at night is stress, so take the time to calm your mind.
Do a few yoga poses and some deep breathing. Meditate. Write in a gratitude journal.
Write down tomorrow’s to-do list so you don’t lie in bed and think about what you need to do. Get rid of what's worrying you.
4. Eat some sleep-friendly snacks
Some bedtime snacks can help you fall asleep. A bowl of oatmeal is always a good choice. So is apple and cheese or peanut butter, or a banana.
5. Cut out the caffeine
Stick with herbal teas after 2 p.m. Most people don’t realize how long it takes, on average, 4-6 hours for caffeine to clear out of their system. And if you have a slower metabolism it takes even longer.
By switching to herbal teas after 2:00, you give yourself a much better chance to ease your way into sleep at night.
The biggest thing to remember here is not to skip workouts just because your schedule only allows time for this at night. Both sleep and workouts are important and with these tips you can have both!
Yours in health and happiness,
P.S. Share this with your friends who are night owls and I welcome your comments below? Have you avoided working out at night because you were worried you wouldn't be able to sleep well?