Most people know that it is generally not recommended to play sports at night, as it may make it difficult to fall asleep. But is it really not advisable to exercise in the evening, a few hours before going to bed? Well, a scientific study calls into question this theory, according to which the sport before bedtime interferes with the sleep.
The study indicates that only very intense physical activity is harmful to sleep. On the other hand, moderate workout before sleeping may be really beneficial for you. So stay motivated and the changes will appear on overall morale, good humor and physical fitness in general. Keep reading to find out more!
1. You can do harder workouts later in the day.
Working out before bedtime, as we previously mentioned, gives a better sleep quality. The effect of sleep on performance is notorious. It’s a virtuous circle: a person who sleeps well will perform better, since the body gets time to recover, and the muscles to regenerate.
Good sleep has a positive influence on the athlete by increasing his vigilance, his energy and his performance during training. Conversely, not getting enough sleep affects your metabolism. People who lack sleep consume about 300 more calories per day, with a slower metabolism.
2. You might sleep better.
By participating in a healthy lifestyle, physical activity also contributes to good sleep. It provides physical and mental relaxation, very conducive to a good fall asleep and calm nights.
It has been proven that participating in physical activity helps you sleep better, by making it easier to fall asleep and get restful sleep. But it would not be delusional to say that sport, whatever the intensity, causes noticeable fatigue and thus promotes falling asleep. Indeed, the creation of endorphins during exercise helps sleep. You just have to reduce the pace and find the right time to engage the pedal.
3. Your muscles could form faster.
Your body builds muscles out of protein, and testosterone tells your body to make more protein. Testosterone thus contributes to muscle growth in a very direct way. Cortisol on the other hand, is the polar opposite of testosterone, because it stops the body’s production of protein. Cortisol is often called the stress hormone, because physical and/or emotional stress triggers its release. It is a catabolic hormone, meaning that it breaks down tissue, and makes glucose available by breaking down muscle whenever the blood sugar is low. Monitoring your cortisol levels is a very good idea that allows detecting chronically elevated cortisol levels early enough, so that you can make training adjustments before your athletic performance abilities take a serious nosedive.
In sports physiology, the testosterone/cortisol ratio has been used to analyze the balance between anabolic and catabolic processes. Keep in mind that the ratio of testosterone and cortisol is the best in the evening for muscle growth. So it’s better to focus on milder workouts to get the most of it.
4. You might release accumulated stress.
Exercise is the best way to release the tension that has built up throughout the day. Thanks to the endorphins (the pleasure hormones) it secretes, exercising alleviates anxiety, promotes falling asleep and improves the quality of sleep.
However, remember that intensive sports activity less than an hour before bedtime can have a negative effect on sleep. So, It is not advisable to play sports at night, but it all depends on what time you usually go to bed. Specifically, the main thing is to stop any strenuous sports activity two to three hours before going to bed. This will give the body time to lower its temperature, which is essential for falling asleep.