How Exercise Affects Sleep

Author: Samantha Clayton
Does Exercise Timing Affect Our Sleep Quality? Samantha Clayton Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness answers your questions.

Does Exercise Timing Affect Our Sleep Quality?

What is the best time of day to exercise? Are morning or evening workouts better?

The best time to exercise is when you feel at your best and when it fits in with your lifestyle. Morning is often optimal for most because you are well-rested and energised and it allows you to check it off your to-do list early, rather than having to squeeze it into your day. But if you are not a morning person and prefer to exercise later, that’s okay, too. It’s all about what works for you.

 

What are the pros and cons of exercising or playing sports during the evening?

The main pro of doing sports in the evening is that it is a great way to socialise, decompress and de-stress after a long day working or managing family responsibilities. The only downside is that you may be physically not at your best, especially if your day was very active. Provided you have good nutrition and hydrate throughout the day, the evening can be a great time to have fun on the field.

Highly intense exercise may give you an energy boost and make falling asleep a little more difficult, so be sure to have a little downtime post-workout to relax.

Is there a particular exercise/routine you recommend if people work out in the evening?

You can do any workout you wish in the evening – from lifting weights to doing cardio. Or even a HIIT class. It all depends on your personal goals. If your goal is to feel more rested in the evening, opt for a lower impact, low-intensity style like yoga, Pilates, stretching, or a nice walk. This will help you to stay in a relaxed frame of mind and may help with your sleep routine.

Don’t get into the mindset that you have to work out at a specific time of day to get better results. It’s all about the time of day that works best for you individually. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to learn your own body, and from there, aim to exercise at a time that feels good and works with your schedule. The key is consistency. Pick a time that you can consistently meet.

What is your personal sleep routine?

I’m an early to bed, early to rise human. I go to bed by 10 PM each day and I am up before the sun at about 5:30 AM. I have a nice routine of stopping emails early and try my best to stay off technology from 8:00 PM onward. I love to do yoga in the evening and save my hard workouts for lunchtime because I get super energised after a session and know if I do it before going to bed, I will be wide awake. I love to have a hot herbal tea (no caffeine) every night in a giant mug. My day ends with my skincare routine and starts with my morning tea. I’m all about good habits and routine. My kids laugh that I have always gone to bed before everyone else but I go at a thousand miles per hour all day, like an energised bunny so when the sun goes down I’m exhausted. I’m highly active and I’ve learned how I work best. Everyone is different and everyone has a sweet spot with timing. I’ve found mine and hope it helps me age gracefully.

By SAMANTHA CLAYTON

OLY, ISSA-CPT
Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness