“When we reviewed the literature on this work, we found that there were a lot of mixed results,” said Melodee Mograss, a cognitive neuropsychologist and researcher at the university sleep lab. “Some depended on the time of exercise, others on the fitness level of a study’s participants, or even the type of exercise.”
The team found that early evening high-intensity exercise helped promote sleep, especially if the person working out was typically sedentary. Working out for between 30 and 60 minutes also helped people fall asleep and stay asleep. Cycling had the most sleep benefits.
A consistent exercise schedule is best, as exercising at different times of the evening could cause sleep disturbances, the researchers noted.
“Based on our review, for healthy, young and middle-aged adults with no history of sleep disorders, evening exercises should be performed in the early evening if possible,” Frimpong said. “And lastly, sleep hygiene strategies should also be carried out, such as taking a shower between the cessation of exercise and bedtime and avoiding eating heavy meals or drinking a lot of water before going to bed.”
Your strategy might also vary depending on whether you’re a night owl or an early riser. “High-intensity exercise performed late in the evening can result in sleep disturbance for morning-type people,” Frimpong said.
The findings were published Sept. 28 in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews.
The Sleep Foundation has tips for healthy sleeping.
SOURCE: Concordia University, news release, Sept. 28, 2021