When it comes to setting yourself up for success and planning for consistency, figuring out when to time your regular workout can be just as important as the kind of workout you do. We got the lowdown from F45 Athletics Team Manager, Lauren Vickers on her thoughts and tips on exercising in the evening.
Exercising generally raises your core temperature, a theory was held that exercising at night could lead to poor quality sleep. However, several studies since 2018 have shown that – in addition to the numerous benefits of exercise on general health, wellbeing, and mental health – regular exercise (even at night) can help you sleep well at night.
Working out in the evening can help promote deeper sleep and recovery because as your body starts to cool post-sweat, your body is signaled to produce melatonin (a natural hormone produced in the brain that helps regulate your circadian rhythms).
Of course, the time of day you schedule your sweat sesh is best suited to when you naturally feel more energetic. Have a think about your natural rhythms and sleep cycles – are you an early bird that likes to tackle things first up in the morning, or are you more of a night owl who finds themselves restless when many others are winding down for the night?
Much of this will depend on your work and family life, and may change throughout the course of your lifetime, but scheduling in your workouts around the times you have the most energy can help improve your training experience, adherence and even your sleep.
On the flip side, some people prefer to work out earlier in the day, as it allows them to get through their session uninterrupted, or before the day’s stresses wear them down and if you’re more of a lark, early workouts can have the added benefit of exposure to natural light, which can help align your circadian rhythms.
Regardless of whether you’re better suited getting in your daily movement earlier or later in the day, experts recommend a few things to help promote restful sleep and adequate recovery:
- Avoid vigorous exercise too close to your regular bedtime by giving yourself at least 60-90 minutes of post-workout time before bed and allowing your body to properly cool down.
- Avoid electronics like TV, your phone or laptop 30-60 minutes before bed, as the exposure to blue light can block melatonin and signal to your body that it’s time to wake up.
- Where possible, regularly go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Create a bedtime routine – take a warm bath, play some relaxing music, or read a book consistently at the same time each night to cue your body to recognise when it’s time to start winding down for the day.
- Avoid pre-workout drinks or caffeine later in the day.
Want more? Click here for How A Year Of Pilates Changed My Life, Cured My Back Pain And Transformed My Body.