As you might’ve noticed, there is some discourse when it comes to ideal exercise  periods during the day. Should I exercise first thing in the morning? What if I only have  time at night, what can I do? We used to always hear that exercising before bed was  bad, that it gets you in an adrenaline peak hindering you from sleeping. However, recent  research has been claiming that it might be beneficial for sleep. 

Sleep Quality 

In reality, nightly workouts don’t affect your sleep, rather, some scientists believe that  they might be good for you. The previous thought was that the sleep cycles were  affected by this energy peak, leaving you restless and keeping you awake. However,  after careful consideration, it might be the opposite! It has been shown that working out  in the evening can help increase the total sleep duration. It also helps improve the later  sleep stages that manage memory and learning. Additionally, exercising outside can  help regulate the circadian cycles as one would be in sync with the day-night cycle. 

There are a few advantages to working out in the evening: 

1. It provides better sleep 

Some studies show that exercise helps you fall asleep  quicker and allows you to spend more time in deep sleep. This also means more  time in REM sleep which has significant restorative powers. 

2. Increase in sleep hygiene 

Exercise is a good sleep hygiene practice. It aids in  helping you sleep better, consequently making you feel better and more rested. It  also increases total sleep duration, ensuring you get all the recommended rest. 

3. Better overall health 

More than just helping you fall asleep, exercising is needed  for better health. You should incorporate it into your daily life, if your preference is to 

exercise at night, then go for it! Furthermore, exercising helps release happy  hormones that reduce stress and blood pressure. 


There are just a few things to keep in mind when exercising in the evening. To benefit  from these perks you should refrain from exercising for at least 90 minutes before bed.  This is due to the increase in body temperature that happens when you are active.  Although it is a normal part of exercising, it’s detrimental to sleep and can block you  from having a proper night’s sleep. You should also keep in mind the types of exercises  you are doing, especially if it is up to one hour before sleep. Vigorous exercising can  also affect your sleep efficiency. Running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and lifting  heavy weights shortly before bed can prevent you from getting a good rest. So try and  focus more on aerobic exercises, stretches and yoga if you’re doing it right before bed. 

Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that, no matter what time, staying active is the  most important. Exercising regularly is imperative for your well-being and sleep so make  it a priority. If for you that means working out in the evening then just follow these tips! 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here

Ana Dantas is in the last year of her Bachelor’s in Psychology at the University of Porto.  She is currently an intern at Willingness within the Health Clinic, with a special interest in  neuroscience and social psychology.

References :  

D. J. Miller, C. Sargent, G. D. Roach, A. T. Scanlan, G. E. Vincent & M. Lastella (2020)  Moderate-intensity exercise performed in the evening does not impair sleep in  healthy males, European Journal of Sport Science, 20:1, 80-89, DOI:  10.1080/17461391.2019.1611934 

Nunez, K. (2020, July 9). Can Exercising Before Bed Affect Your Sleep? Healthline;  Healthline Media. 

LeWine, H. (2019, April). Does exercising at night affect sleep? Harvard Health; Harvard  Health. affect-sleep Stutz, J., Eiholzer, R. & Spengler, C.M. Effects of Evening Exercise on Sleep in Healthy  Participants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med 49, 269–287  (2019).