Struggling to sleep? It could be due to your exercise routine. Healthista spoke to Vanessa Gebhardt, Mindset and Training Specialist at Freeletics for advice
It has long been proven that exercise can help to improve both sleep quality and quantity.
A good night’s sleep can enhance mood, memory, and concentration levels, as well as lowering blood pressure, alleviating stress and boosting your immunity.
your exercise regime may be causing you more harm than good
However, there are circumstances when your exercise regime may be causing you more harm than good when it comes to your sleep.
To explain more, Healthista spoke to Vanessa Gebhardt, Mindset and Training Specialist at Freeletics, who revealed five ways your fitness regime could be wreaking havoc on your sleep…
Your Body Temperature Is Too High
Exercising too close to bedtime can make it challenging to fall asleep.
In particular, high intensity exercises can raise your body temperature, speed up your heart rate, and stimulate the nervous system which can affect sleep considerably.
In order to fall asleep and stay asleep, your body needs to be at an optimum temperature.
If you are keen to exercise during the evening hours, try some low impact exercises and simple stretches which can help to prepare your body for sleep.
You Are Too Full
After an evening workout, many will opt for a hearty meal to compensate for all of the calories burned. However, for optimum sleep, experts recommend eating dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime.
In fact, it is beneficial to eat your main meal at lunchtime between the hours of 11am -3pm, so that your food is completely digested and all the energy has been used.
a heavy meal late at night will mean your body will have to work to digest instead of cleanse
Your body wants to cleanse during sleep, so a heavy meal late at night will mean your body will have to work to digest instead of cleanse. This will lead to disturbed sleep patterns, often waking in the early hours.
Your Adrenaline Levels Matter
High intensity exercise can boost adrenaline production in the body significantly.
If you are exercising later in the day, your adrenaline levels will likely stay elevated at bedtime which will make it very hard for you to switch your mind off. Adrenaline also increases alertness, making it harder to relax into sound sleep.
Too Much Caffeine
Think twice before consuming that cup of coffee or caffeine stimulant after your workout! it is important to avoid having these after lunchtime as it can take up to 8 hours to leave the body.
Calming herbal teas make an excellent post-workout alternative and many also boast further benefits – peppermint, helps to aid digestion, whilst chamomile is a natural sleep inducer.
You’re Skipping Your Cool Down
A cool down is an essential part of your workout however, many people actually tend to skip it for a variety of reasons. One of the most important benefits of a cool down is that it allows for a gradual recovery of your heart rate.
During exercise, your heart rate will increase and the heart will pump more blood around the body to supplement to the muscles which are working harder than usual.
A cool down also provides a great opportunity to relax and unwind, which in turn, will help optimise sleep.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to cooling down after a session, Freeletics has launched a range of new cool down exercises in the app, as well as features which encourage users to never skip a cooldown, despite how pushed for time they may be.
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