Sleep After Exercise: Should You Do it?

Woman wiping her face with a white towel

In this age of technological advancements, we realize that we can do things better in many areas of life, including sleep and exercise. One of the questions that sometimes crops up is whether or not one should sleep after working out. Some say this is important because it allows your body to recover. Others will advise you to wait until bedtime to get a good night’s slumber. So, which is it? Should you sleep after exercise or not? In this blog post, we’ll help you better grasp the dynamics between sleep and training to help you get to the bottom of things. So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!

The benefits of sleep after exercise

The importance of sleep and exercise is widely known. Both affect our day-to-day physical and mental functioning, our ability to fight infections, and our metabolism. Lack of either has also been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. But sleep after exercise, in particular, can likewise be crucial for the following reasons:

1. It rebuilds damaged muscle tissue.

Taking a nap after exercising helps promote and expedite muscle recovery. During sleep at night and in the early morning, your pituitary gland releases the human growth hormone (HGH), which your muscles use to repair and build tissue.

2. It reduces physical fatigue.

After a long or tough workout, it’s common to feel sleepy and exhausted. This is a sign of muscle fatigue, which occurs after the repeated and intense use of these soft tissues. An effective countermeasure is getting restorative sleep to raise energy levels.

3. It revives mental alertness. 

Studies show that even a brief 15- to 30- minute nap during the daytime can help regulate mood and enhance concentration. 

Therefore, sleep can help optimize physical performance. In addition, it supports a healthy immune system which is critical in preventing injury and illness after exercise. So if you want to get the most out of your fitness regimen, make sure to get enough sleep!

Should you exercise for sleep

If sleep can restore energy and help you perform better, regular exercise can also impact sleep quality. Research suggests that physically active people sleep better than those who don’t workout or move around as much. They also sleep longer and wake up more refreshed. Here are the top ways that exercise helps improve sleep:

Happy woman resting her face on her hands

1. It reduces stress levels.

Working out helps your body pump out a good dose of endorphins while reducing cortisol. Endorphins are feel-good and pain-relieving hormones, while cortisol is your primary stress hormone. The ideal levels of both chemicals in your body enable you to manage tension and anxiety during the day, leading to better sleep at night.

2. It regulates body temperature for quality sleep.

Exercising elevates your core temperature, signaling that you should be up and about. However, your body heat drops after 30 to 90 minutes, facilitating sleepiness. Thus sleep after exercise can play a vital role in how well you sleep.

Potential risks of sleeping too close to exercise 

So, should you sleep after exercise? The truth is that both supporters and detractors of post-workout sleep are right—to some extent. Sleeping after a workout is definitely crucial for recovery, but it may also disrupt your sleeping patterns. Everything depends, to a large extent, on timing.

Taking a nap when it’s nearing bedtime may cause sleep disturbance. The endorphin rush from exercise can keep you alert for some time. Thus, experts recommend avoiding exercise within two hours of getting into bed to allow the body enough time to wash off the stimulating hormones. This will make you less hyper or excited when it’s time to sleep.

Also, if your workout is scheduled for mid-afternoon and you take a nap afterward, this may prevent you from falling asleep quickly. As a result, your sleep cycle can become distorted.

The length of your naps also matters. Although regular napping after exercise may not affect nighttime sleep for many people, it can pose a serious problem if you already have trouble sleeping. Keep to the golden napping duration of 30 to 90 minutes to help you get more than just forty winks at night.

How to maximize your recovery and sleep quality 

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential in maximizing recovery and performance. To get the most out of it, it’s necessary to establish these healthy sleep habits:

Woman in deep sleep as she lies on a white bed

1. Get on a healthy sleep and exercise schedule. 

If you choose to nap after exercising, schedule it earlier or before 2 pm while keeping it short and sweet. Also, stick to the same sleep and wake times each day. This will help maintain healthy circadian rhythms (your internal body clocks), improving overall sleep quality and boosting your post-workout recovery.

2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. 

Consuming caffeine or alcohol near bedtime can disrupt sleep quality, so it’s best to stay away from these in the hours leading up to sleep.

3. Manage behaviors that induce wakefulness.

Certain activities, such as watching TV or using electronic devices, can be stimulating and should be avoided before sleep. Remember how ample rest can improve your next day’s performance, so you’ll be motivated to ditch your gadgets an hour or so before bedtime.

4. Set the mood.

Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature for sleep.

5. Manage stress.

Developing sleep exercises, such as deep breathing techniques or progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and give you a good night’s rest.

Optimal recovery and sleep with infrared light therapy

Enhance sleep quality and maximize recovery from exercise simultaneously through infrared light therapy. This is a type of phototherapy that uses infrared radiation to promote healing in a variety of conditions, including muscle soreness and inflammation, chronic pain, and sleep disorders

So how can infrared light therapy be so beneficial? This non-invasive and drug-free technology delivers energy to the body in the form of infrared waves. Both infrared and infrared light have lower frequencies than other forms of radiation like UV rays, making them generally safer to use. At the same time, the longer wavelengths of infrared and red light can penetrate further below the skin’s surface, reaching deep down to the mitochondria or power generators of the cells. The result is next-level restoration and rejuvenation of the tissues, joints, and muscles.

HigherDOSE: Your healing haven 

Not all infrared light therapies are the same. Ensure optimal recovery and sleep only with infrared wellness technologies from HigherDOSE. For instance, our Infrared PEMF Mat boasts two powerful healing technologies to create the ultimate restoration and rejuvenation tool. PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) sends electromagnetic waves throughout your body to help promote its own recovery process. The PEMF grounds you in the earth’s magnetic field for a total-body reset while the deeply penetrating infrared light doubles your healing dose. Discover more about how to achieve optimal recovery and sleep with HigherDOSE. Check out our complete line of cutting-edge infrared devices and accessories today.

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