Exercise

This Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise For Better Sleep

This Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise For Better Sleep

The link between better sleep and exercise is well known. We’ll tell you the best time of day to exercise so you can rest easy and wake up refreshed.

As well as whole host of benefits, from weight control to fighting depression, exercise is also important for getting a good night’s sleep.

In fact, just 30 minutes of exercise three times a week was enough to improve sleep quality for sedentary women suffering from insomnia.

So, the jury’s in – working up a sweat during the day is key to sleeping soundly at night. But, is the effect is the same regardless of when you exercise? After all, it’s not unreasonable to assume that a late night exercise session might leave you too wired to fall asleep.

While it is true that the timing of your workout can have an influence on sleep, there are lots of different factors to consider. Read on to find out the best time of day to exercise for better sleep.

The Connection Between Exercise and Sleep Quality

It’s safe to say there’s little debate over the fact that exercising helps you sleep better.

In a recent poll, the National Sleep Foundation found that up to 67 percent of exercisers report getting a good night’s sleep. Only 39 percent of non-exercisers were able to report that they experienced the same high sleep quality.

And, the more intense the workout out, the bigger the difference. Seventy-two percent of vigorous exercisers said that they rarely or never experienced symptoms of insomnia. In contrast, 50 percent of non-exercisers said that they often wake up early, while 24 percent experience insomnia nearly every night.

Further research studied over 3,000 adults who tried to complete the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week. These participants showed a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. They also reported feeling less sleepy during the day.

And, this effect runs both ways too. Getting enough sleep means that you feel well-rested the following day and have enough energy to exercise. On the other hand, feeling tired after a bad night’s sleep is more likely to make you skip your workout.

But, what’s the best time of the day to get active for optimum sleep quality? Here, we compare how exercising in the morning, afternoon and at night affect how well you sleep.

Working Out in the Morning

Many people favor exercising in the early hours because it ensures that you’ve got your workout in before the demands of the day take hold. And, making the effort to wake up early and work out means you’re sure to reap the benefits of better-quality sleep.

In fact, working out in the morning has the added bonus of even deeper sleep at night. One study compared participants who worked out at 7 AM, 1 PM, and 7 PM for three days per week. Those who worked out at 7 am experienced longer, deeper sleep than the other exercise groups.

The same study also found that morning exercise has a greater effect on reducing blood pressure. During sleep, your blood pressure dips by around 10 to 20 percent.

The 7 AM exercisers experienced a 25 percent drop at night and a 10 percent reduction in blood pressure throughout the whole day. This drop in blood pressure is associated with deeper sleep as it one way that the body restores itself during the night.

And, if you exercise outside in the morning, you’ll also benefit from a dose of sunshine. Not only does this boost your vitamin D levels, but it also helps regulate your circadian rhythm for a more consistent sleep/wake cycle.

Working Out in the Afternoon

If hitting the gym at the crack of dawn isn’t for you, don’t worry. Working out in the afternoon also has benefits, for both your performance and your sleep quality.

By the afternoon, your body has had more of a chance to warm-up. In fact, it’s one or two degrees warmer than when you first get out of bed.

As a result, your muscles can work more efficiently and there’s less chance of you injuring yourself. You’ll body will be supple and more flexible. Dance steps will come easier and you’ll be more adept at complex full-body movements like swinging a tennis racket.

In addition, afternoon workouts can also help you fall asleep more quickly and wake up less often during the night. This is because exercise raises your body temperature for around four or five hours. Following this period, your core temperature decreases, sending a signal to your body to start preparing for sleep mode.

Exercising in the afternoon is also a great way to release stress and tension after a hard day at work. Focusing on the physical later in the day allows your body to take over from your brain. This then reduces the possibility of being kept awake at night by an anxious or busy mind working overtime.

Working Out at Night

Maybe exercising in the morning isn’t for you. And perhaps an afternoon workout is impossible with your schedule. Whatever your reasons, many people find a late night sweat session the most convenient for them.

But, does late night exercise have the same positive effect on sleep quality? Or, is it possible that working out before bed actually negatively effects your sleep?

There’s no single answer to these questions. It can depend on the workout you do, but when to exercise depends more on your individual reaction.

For example, doing yoga and Pilates at night is said to be beneficial for those kept awake by stress. This is because of the stretching movements and focuses on breathing help you to relax and unwind before bed.

Also, strength training at any time of the day has been found to improve sleep quality. That said, the time of day that you lift weights does make a difference to how your sleep improves.

Those who get their pumps and curls out of the way in the morning tend to drift off to sleep quicker than night exercisers. But, those who pump iron at night wake up less often and sleep better overall.

But, what about cardio before bed? It’s logical to think that a high-energy workout that has your heart pumping and increases your body temperature is not the way to ease yourself into a pre-sleep state. And it’s true – for some people exercise before sleep can cause insomnia.

But, that doesn’t mean that night-time cardio should be off-limits. The National Sleep Foundation found that exercisers report improved sleep regardless of when they worked out. In fact, in one study, male cyclists rode stationary bikes for three hours up until 30 minutes before bedtime and had no trouble sleeping.

Make Your Workout Schedule Work for You

To reap the many benefits of exercise, improved sleep included, your workout schedule must have all of ‘the three Cs’ – commitment, convenience, and consistency.

Commitment means making a plan and sticking to it. But, just as your plan is individual to you, so is your idea of convenience, as is how you can ensure consistency. If rolling out of bed and into the gym is the only way you can stay consistent, great. But, if it’s convenient for you to work out at 9 pm and you sleep well afterwards, don’t feel you have to change your routine.

Likewise, if you find that your workout schedule isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it. Many people swear by working out first thing as there’s less going on to side-track your best efforts to get a workout in. But, if you feel sluggish and tend to struggle through your morning workouts, don’t feel obliged to continue exercising early.

You might find that you feel more energetic in the afternoon or evening. Not only is your body temperature higher during this period, but your endurance also peaks around this time of day. And, getting outside for a mini workout at lunchtime is also a great way to boost your afternoon productivity.

Feel free to experiment with exercising at different times of the day and use an activity tracker to analyze your sleeping patterns. This way, you’ll know for sure which time of day is best for you to exercise.

And, if it’s more convenient to work out later, but you experience reduced sleep, try playing around with your schedule. Move your workouts around by half an hour or so and see what time works best for you. After some trial and error, you’re sure to find when to exercise for the best sleep quality.

The Best Time of Day to Exercise for Better Sleep

Some people are firmly in the early-exercise camp. Others say that a moonlit jog is the only time to get in their daily activity.

Whichever side you’re on, you’ll be pleased to learn that the best time of day to exercise is whenever it’s most convenient for you. And, whatever time of the day – or night – you prefer to exercise, you’ll still sleep soundly come bedtime.

For more information, check out our FAQs, or contact us to find out how our Body Transformation Challenge can help you achieve your fitness goals, and get a better night’s sleep too!

8 Mini Workout Tips To Try If You Have No Time To Exercise

8 Mini Workout Tips To Try If You Have No Time To Exercise

Too busy to exercise? Here are some mini workout routines to hack your weight loss plan even if your schedule shows zero downtime.

In between work, school, or taking care of the kids, you’re lucky if you find one second to yourself. You still want to exercise and stay fit, but your schedule is so busy that you just can’t seem to squeeze it in.

Only an alarming 23% of Americans get the exercise that they need. Don’t be a part of the population who struggle to work out. If you don’t have time–don’t worry.

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hours on an elliptical just to get your daily exercise. Doing small exercises throughout the day only take a few minutes, and some can even be incorporated into your daily routine.

Who needs the gym to get in shape? Here are 8 mini workout tips you should try if you have no time to exercise:

1. Workout With Your Chores

Why not make chores your daily workout routine? Instead of dreading your chores, view them as part of an exercise routine. You may not think of chores as a workout, but the reality is that you’re doing work and getting physical activity.

Put extra effort into doing your daily tasks. Doing laundry involves heavy lifting, vacuuming your carpet works your arms and legs, and wiping down your bathroom can tone your biceps. Even something as simple as scrubbing the floor can give you an effective cardio workout.

2. Avoid Elevators

Yes, elevators are very convenient, but you don’t really need them to get where you need to go. Don’t take the elevator up to the eighth floor–go up the stairs instead.

Need more convincing to use the stairs? Simply climbing 2 flights of stairs per day can lead to a weight loss of 6lbs in one year. Now, just think how much weight you can lose if you climb 10 flights of stairs each day.

You can even try this exercise when you’re out shopping. Skip out on escalators when you’re at a store and work towards your weight loss goals on the stairs.

3. Break Parking Habits

Are you guilty of always trying to find the closest parking spot? Now is the time to stop that habit. Instead of searching for the spot closest to your destination, you should be looking for the farthest.

Parking far away forces you to walk a longer distance to the building’s entrance. If you have multiple places that you’re driving to that day, all that walking adds up. Just one simple adjustment can turn into an easy daily workout.

4. Take Advantage of Lunch Breaks

Maybe you’re stuck at work all day. By the time you get home, you have no time or energy left for your daily fitness routine. That’s why you should start taking advantage of your lunch breaks.

You might cherish your lunch break as a time when you can relax, have a bite to eat or chat with your coworkers, but you can also use this as a time to squeeze in a quick workout. You could go for a 20 or 30-minute walk outside your building depending on how long your lunch breaks are. Bring along a few coworkers and start a fun daily workout.

5. Don’t Drive to Work

Getting stuck in traffic during your morning commute is probably nothing new to you. But what if this irritating traffic can be avoided altogether? If you live close enough to your job, consider biking, jogging, or walking to work.

Spending all day behind your desk is just as bad as spending several minutes or hours behind the wheel. Your body just won’t get the daily workout it needs.

You could also try hopping off the bus or train early so you have a farther walking distance to your home or work. You might even find out that you’ll get to work on foot faster than if you were to take a vehicle.

6. Use Commercial Breaks to Your Advantage

Everyone knows that commercials are annoying–they interrupt your favorite shows and are incredibly boring. The next time you find time to relax in front of your TV, don’t sit through the commercial breaks. Make it a habit to get up and do an aerobic exercise while the commercials are on.

Commercial breaks are around a few minutes long and can occur several times during a show. Doing a variety of jumping jacks, push-ups, and crunches, as the commercials play can really make you sweat, and can even get you toned over time.

7. Learn to Multi-Task

Many people tend to avoid workouts because they have to get some other task done, but it’s really easy to do both at the same time.

Have to take your dog out? Go for a walk with him around the neighborhood. Maybe you’ve been meaning to get around to reading that book or finishing a TV show–read the book or watch your show while you’re on a treadmill or hitting the gym.

Having entertainment while working out can be your motivation to start incorporating a daily exercise plan into your busy schedule. Better yet, you’ll be accomplishing a task, while also reaching your fitness goals.

8. Have Fun with the Kids

Daily workout routines can be boring, but kids definitely aren’t. They’re bundles of energy, and never seem to tire no matter how many laps they run around your yard. Next time your kid wants to get outside and play, go with them.

Suggest playing a game of tag or catch. You’ll be surprised at how tired you are after the fun and games end. Not only will you get your heart pumping, but you’ll be having a great time with your kid.

You Can Still Get Fit with No Time to Exercise

Having no time to exercise isn’t an excuse for not working out. You don’t have to dread timely trips to the gym when you can do quick workouts throughout your day. Before you know it, you’ll notice yourself losing more weight and having more defined muscles.

If you’re still struggling to lose that stubborn weight, we can help. Our Body Transformation Challenge can help you achieve your fitness goals in as little as 9 weeks. Visit our website to learn more.

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