If you nap after working out regularly, you may be surprised to find that there are some upsides and downsides depending on a range of factors. This post covers the positive and negative effects of napping after working out and how it can impact the overall quality of your sleep and health.
By the end, you’ll be left with a much clearer idea as to whether napping after working out is right for you or not.
Napping After Working Out & Insomnia
One of the biggest possible positive effects of working out before sleep is that it can minimize the severity of insomnia symptoms. Exercise is one of the recommendations given to people who suffer from insomnia due to how it can tire out the body and help you feel sleepy at night.
Working out after a workout uses up the energy stores which causes your body to feel tired so that you can sleep better and restore your energy. Exercising can also be used as an effective way to help you feel tired earlier to get your circadian rhythm back on track.
Your circadian rhythm is what controls your body’s natural ability to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day. Getting into a consistent sleeping routine with the help of exercise can help you to wake up feeling refreshed.
People who are interested in using exercise as a way to reduce the severity of their insomnia symptoms may want to try out different types of workouts and intensity levels, as well as the times that they workout.
The best time to workout to experience the best sleep benefits will vary from person to person. Some people may need to exercise up to 6 hours before their desired bedtime because they feel too energized in the hours after working out. Others may find that they can sleep better when working out a couple of hours away from their bedtime.
It’s also not recommended for insomnia sufferers to nap during the day. This is because it will make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at night. Try working out rather than napping as it elevates your heart rate and can help to keep you awake until bedtime.
Exercise Before Bed For Weight Loss
So, people with insomnia should avoid naps after working out and save their sleep for the night. However, does taking a nap help you lose weight? Well, there are some benefits that people can experience when napping after exercising.
Lifting weights and gaining muscle enables your body to burn more fat at rest. Therefore, gaining muscle is a great way to make it easier for your body to get rid of fat when you’re awake and asleep.
Some studies have found that the body can burn more fat while sleeping. Therefore, taking a tactical nap after working out could help you lose more fat faster. Having said that, other studies say napping after working out doesn’t make that much of a difference for fat loss compared to if you were to stay awake and sleep at night.
It may be a good idea to experiment with napping after working out as well as saving the sleep for later at night to see if you notice any differences in your body’s ability to burn fat. The bottom line is that having quality sleep (either through naps or sleeping through the night) consistently helps your metabolism to function better overall.
Downsides to Napping After Working Out
There can be some good benefits to napping after working out, but there are also some potential downsides that can have negative effects on your health.
- When you workout, cortisol (or as it’s commonly referred to as, the stress hormone) is released which can cause you trouble sleeping after a workout as you don’t feel sleepy. If you’re unable to sleep right after working out, it may be best to workout earlier in the day so that your cortisol levels aren’t too high when you’re trying to sleep at night. High cortisol levels may be why you can’t sleep after exercise.
- On the other hand, you may find that you feel very sleepy after working out. This can result in you napping for too long after exercising during the day which makes it difficult to sleep properly at night. Those of you who experience extra sleepiness after exercising may find it more beneficial to workout before bed as you can go straight to sleep and keep your body in a good routine.
- If you consistently feel exhausted after working out, it may be because your workouts are too intense and that the body is becoming exhausted. If you feel drained after a workout, try to scale back the intensity of your exercise routine, drink plenty of water, and make sure that you’re getting the right nutrition. In addition to this, poor quality sleep could be preventing your body from being able to live up to its potential when it comes to working out harder, so, proper rest is a must too.
Read: Bedtime Meditation: Tips To Meditate & Sleep Better
What Are The Benefits Of Napping After Working Out?
One of the biggest benefits that you can experience from napping after working out is that your body is provided with an excellent opportunity to work on repairing muscle tissue. When you’re asleep, your body can help your body recover and restore itself so that you can work out again and notice improvements.
Furthermore, people who consistently work out intensely may find that they need to sleep more compared to people who don’t work out. This is because you’re giving your body more to do while you’re asleep as it needs to repair muscles and help you recover. Therefore, after intense exercise, you can take a nap to restore your energy levels.
The only time where napping after working out could prove to be a problem is if you’re unable to sleep properly at your desired bedtime.
Different Kinds Of Exercise
Flexible exercise is great for keeping your muscles loose and preventing injuries. Doing mobility work is integral to a good workout plan to make sure that you have a full range of motion and can exercise safely.
Some people also find stretching to be a relaxing form of exercise as you’re able to feel your muscles loosening up which can relieve tension. Therefore, doing things like yoga after working out could help to relax your body if you workout at night so that you can go to sleep when you get home.
Aerobic exercise involves your heart rate being elevated for prolonged periods. The most common forms of aerobic exercise include running/jogging, cycling, swimming, and using equipment at gyms such as cross-trainers or stair masters.
Doing aerobic exercise trains your cardiovascular system and can improve heart health and endurance levels. You can make the aerobic exercise more or less intense depending on how much time you have to work out.
People who are tight on time would find high-intensity cardio to be more beneficial. You’re able to do more work and burn more calories within a shorter duration of time. However, this type of workout is more intense and could make it more difficult for you to nap or sleep right after working out.
Alternatively, you could do steady-state cardio. Steady-state cardio could be something as simple as going on a walk for 45 minutes to an hour. It takes up more time but is nowhere near as intense as other forms of aerobic exercise which can give you more freedom to complete the workouts closer to bedtime and not experience problems sleeping.
Anaerobic exercise involves lifting weights to strengthen and grow your muscles. To notice increases in muscle strength and size, you need to have a high-protein diet and remain consistent.
Depending on how intense your weight lifting sessions are, you may find that you need more sleep as the physical toll can be more extreme. This is especially the case among people who lift heavy weights 5+ times a week.
Therefore, you may want to try experimenting with taking naps after lifting weights to see if you’re able to wake up feeling more refreshed while also still being able to sleep properly at night. You may also need to allow time for extra sleep to let your body repair your muscle tissue so that it can grow back bigger and stronger.
Exercise Before Bed Could Be Keeping You Up At Night
A huge factor that causes people to workout close to bedtime is that they have busy schedules. If you struggle trying to balance work, family, and social commitments, you may only be able to fit your workouts in close to your bedtime.
For some, this may be beneficial as they feel extremely tired after working out. However, those of you who have more energy after working out may struggle to sleep at your desired bedtime. If you find it difficult to sleep after exercising, it may be a good idea to lower the intensity of your workouts so that you can minimize the cortisol release and have an easier time sleeping.
Furthermore, doing some form of stretching or yoga after exercising can help your body to feel more relaxed so that you can sleep at night.
Taking a nap after working out can be beneficial or detrimental to the overall quality of your sleep. The tricky part is that napping after exercising has various effects on different people that could be positive or negative. For some, it’s okay to exercise before sleeping, but for others, they can’t sleep after working out.
Therefore, the only sure way to find out is to experiment for yourself. It won’t take long to realize whether your body benefits from napping after exercising or not. You can also make adjustments to the times you workout, types of exercise that you do, and the intensity levels that you employ. Hopefully, you can use the details in our post to help you determine the best workout and sleep schedule for your lifestyle.