For a long time we have been told that having an evening work out, whether it is pumping iron or hitting the treadmill, disrupts our sleep. While anecdotally many people have felt that this is not true the science has not backed this up, so those who work out in the evening have been conflict, often they feel that it is the best time to do it, or they simply have no other time when they can do it. The good news is that it is now official, working out in the evening does not disturb your sleep, so if you like the night work out then now you can go ahead with it without feeling guilty or worried. It will not seriously impact your sleep.
It works the other way too, sadly people. If you are one of those who has resisted exercise because the only time you can do it is at night and you are sure that it will disturb your sleep then unfortunately that excuse is no longer valid! You only have yourself to blame now, not your sleep habits.
The researchers found that people who had exercised at night all reported sleeping as well as those who were not active in the evening hours while those who exercised in the mornings were reporting sleeping the best. In other words, while exercise at night does not have a negative impact on your sleep, exercising in the morning can have a positive impact on your sleep. Lead researcher Matthew Buman, said that while in the past “Sleep recommendations suggested avoiding exercise prior to bed,” they found “evidence to the contrary suggesting that individuals need not avoid exercise at night.”
Buman and his team examined the responses they got from a 1000 adults who took part in a 2013 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll. The respondents had been asked how well they slept, how long they slept, how much time they spent getting to sleep, how refreshed they felt in the mornings and a number of other questions including those relating to exercise habits, such as if they worked out and when they worked out. Based on the answers the researchers then coded their exercise as being of light, moderate or vigorous intensity to give greater depth to the results.
They found that the people who did vigorous exercise in the mornings were a whopping 88 per cent more likely to report a better sleep quality than those who didn’t exercise at all while they were 44 per cent less likely to say that they felt unrefreshed when they woke. Those moderate-intensity morning exercise people were 53 per cent more likely to say they slept well in general, while there was no difference at all in any of the sleep measures between moderate or vigorous evening exercisers and those who didn’t exercise at all.
In other words, you can work out whenever you want and not have it disrupt your sleep, but if you really want to sleep as well as you can, you should try to exercise in the morning.
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