Is a Work Out at Night Bad For You? -Try Exercise at Night to Positively Affect Your Sleep

A workout before bed might sound counterintuitive; you might wonder if exercising at night is good for weight loss or if working out at night is effective. Learn the different ways to incorporate exercise into your sleep-wake cycle so you can experience the benefits of working out late in the evening.

As the modern world gets busier and busier, it’s no surprise that we often disregard the need for physical activity – especially when fitting it into our already-packed schedules. If this is the case for you, it’s worth considering the benefits of a workout before bed and improving sleep as long as done correctly.

Exercising in the evening may sound counterintuitive or intimidating, but you’d be surprised at how much it can improve your quality of life.  We all know that exercise is good for us, but doing a workout before bed takes the benefits of physical activity a step further. 

Not only does it increase our energy levels and decrease stress, but it also actively supports our bodies’ circadian rhythms – the 24-hour biological cycles that regulate our metabolism, hormone production, and sleep-wake cycles. Exercising later in the evening and working out before bed ensures that our body is fully prepared for a good night’s rest. Your body will be better off when you incorporate a healthy workout before bed into your daily routine.

Is it Bad to Workout at Night?

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If you are wondering if it is bad to work out at night, you are not the only one. If you’re a night owl, evening exercise might be the best way to go. Or maybe you wish to exercise first thing in the morning but getting kids out of the house and to work limits that option for you.

Exercise in the night can be helpful to busy moms, night owls, or those who want better quality sleep. Evening exercise and sleep can go hand in hand moderate-intensity exercise before bed is the best and below are some things to consider when working out after dark. You might even be able to improve your sleep as evening exercise can improve how deeply you sleep.

  • Impact on sleep quality– When considering working out at night, one of the primary concerns is its impact on sleep quality. Some individuals find that exercising before bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep due to increased energy levels and elevated heart rates caused by the workout.
  • Body temperature considerations– Late-night exercise can raise body temperature, which is the opposite of what should naturally occur to signal the body that it’s time to wind down for sleep. This shift can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, potentially affecting the quality of your rest.
  • Effects on falling asleep-Working out right before bedtime can have varying effects on falling asleep. While some people find it easier to drift off after exercise, others may experience heightened alertness and find it challenging to relax and prepare for sleep.
  • Impacts on bedtime routine– Engaging in intense exercise before bed can disrupt your bedtime routine by delaying the onset of sleep. It’s crucial to consider how your workout timing fits into your overall evening schedule to ensure you’re giving your body the opportunity to wind down adequately.
  • Body recovery during sleep– Another risk of late-night workouts is the impact on your body’s recovery during sleep. Quality rest is essential for muscle repair and growth, and exercising too close to bedtime may interfere with this crucial process.

Benefits of a Nighttime Workout Before Bedtime 

As mentioned, your body will benefit greatly from working out before bed. Exercise helps to reduce stress, increase your energy levels, and improve the quality of your sleep. Additionally, it can also have a positive impact on your mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. Plus, it can help keep anxiety and depression at bay by creating healthy habits in your daily life.

Furthermore, if you practice regular physical activity before bed, you’ll find that your body is better equipped to cope with the demands of the following day. It’s also worth noting that exercise has been proven to boost your body’s metabolism and aid in weight loss. Doing a workout before bed can help your body burn more calories throughout the night, resulting in a healthier and slimmer physique.

If you are curious if can exercise at night to lose weight or if it is bad to work out at night, this article by NIH has good information on the effects of evening exercise and sleep. The best time to exercise for sleep is when it is already dusk as your natural melatonin starts to set in, and your workout for bed can help relax you even more for a deeper and more restful slumber. Learn more about your hormones and sleep here.

Not to mention that you will also sleep deeper by getting in and staying in REM sleep longer. So, you will wake up feeling more rested, refreshed, and ready for what the day will bring you. Continuously getting better sleep will help you in all facets of your life. Sleep is important not to feel tired; it is essential to your body’s recharging, immune system, and mental health.

How to Incorporate a Workout Before Bed Into Your Schedule

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If you’re looking to get the most out of your pre-bed workout routine, it’s important to plan and make sure that you make time for it. Schedule your workouts into your calendar and set alarms to remind yourself when to exercise, this can be especially helpful for busy moms who don’t seem to have enough time to get the workout in. You should also create an effective plan of action to ensure that you’re adequately prepared for your workouts – ensure you have all the necessary equipment and set aside enough time to cool down and relax afterward.

Another important consideration is ensuring your pre-bed workout does not interfere with sleep. It would help if you aimed to finish your aerobic exercise at least an hour before bed, as this will give your body enough time to relax and transition into sleep mode. Additionally, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated throughout your pre-bed workout, as this will further aid your body’s recovery. 

If you are looking for a low-impact workout before bed, you can choose walking before bed.  Once you are finished with dinner, wrap up your day, prepare for your morning, lace up your shoes, and hit the pavement.  Working out before bed does not have to be high impact; walking aids in digestion, stretching your legs, and if you happen to catch the sunset, even better.  That is when your body naturally starts to slow down, produce melatonin, and get ready for sleep   

Incorporating a workout before bed into your routine can be difficult at first, but with dedication and perseverance, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of a good night’s sleep. With the right preparation and planning, you can enjoy the benefits of exercising late in the evening and ensure that your body is in optimum condition for restful and restorative sleep. 

Make sure you have everything done that needs to be taken care of before bed before you start your workout.  You don’t want to interrupt the flow by having to check emails, do chores, or do anything else that might mitigate the benefits of a workout before bed. It can be easy to get wrapped up in a bunch of “to do” items once the rest of your day is done, in order to fully capture the benefits you must avoid that.

Comparing Nighttime vs. Morning Workouts

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To determine the best time to work out, consider the pros and cons of nighttime versus morning exercise. While evening workouts can help some people unwind after a long day, morning workouts may provide an energy boost for the day ahead. Ideally, you want to work out at least 4-5 days a week, as long as the when you workout isn’t messing up your sleep keep it up.

Optimal exercise window– The optimal exercise window is subjective and depends on individual preferences and commitments. It’s essential to find a time that works best for you in terms of energy levels, schedule flexibility, and overall consistency.

How exercise can help with sleep- Regular exercise, regardless of the time of day, can improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and enhancing overall well-being. Incorporating physical activity into your routine can have positive effects on your sleep patterns.

Exercise regularly and establish a bedtime routine– A regular nighttime workout routine can assist in establishing a bedtime routine that encourages relaxation and prepares your body for sleep. By creating a consistent schedule that includes exercise, you can optimize your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

How can a late-night workout affect your body?

Exercise and cognitive function- Engaging in a late-night workout may impact cognitive function, as physical activity can temporarily increase alertness and arousal. It’s important to consider how exercise close to bedtime might affect your mental clarity and ability to wind down for sleep.

Time between workout and bedtime- The time between your workout and bedtime is crucial, as it allows your body to cool down and transition into a state of relaxation conducive to sleep. Timing your workout to ensure adequate winding down time is essential for a restful night.

Impact on muscles and recovery- Late-night workouts can influence muscle recovery processes during sleep. Depending on the intensity of the exercise, muscles may require sufficient time to repair and grow, which may be disrupted if you work out too close to bedtime.

Increasing strength and muscle tone- Incorporating strength training into your nighttime workout routine can lead to improvements in muscle tone and overall strength. Consistent exercise, even in the evening, can contribute to enhancing your physical fitness levels.

Types of Night Workouts

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Before you embark on your workout before bed, you must decide which exercise is right for you. Not every workout before bed is good for everyone, and you will need to figure out what is best for you, your body, and your schedule. Generally, light exercise is best when done late in the evening, as it helps to relax the body rather than overstimulate it. Light exercises include stretching, yoga, Pilates, or low-intensity activities. 

Alternatively, you could try walking or swimming for more moderate physical activity. It’s important to remember that your workout before bed should be tailored to suit your individual needs. For example, sticking to gentle stretches and relaxation exercises will be most beneficial if you’re feeling tired. If you’ve got the time and energy, you can always opt for a more intense workout before bed. 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an excellent way to get the most out of your exercise routine, as it boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories in a shorter time. Alternatively, you could do some weightlifting or running; cardio before bed for fat loss is a thing that might work for you. Whatever you decide, it’s important to make sure that you give yourself enough time to cool down and relax afterward, as this will help your body transition into sleep mode.

You know your body the best, and picking the appropriate workout before bed for your body will benefit you the best.  If you are unsure, this might be a bit of trial and error to figure out the best workout before bed.  Try different things at different times to learn how your body responds to each workout. Less might be more for you, or a short but quick and intense workout might be your jam.

Q: Is it healthy to exercise at night?

A: It is a common misconception that working out at night is bad for you. In reality, exercising in the evening can have many benefits such as improved sleep quality and better sleep overall.

Q: Can exercising before bed help you sleep?

A: Yes, exercising before bed can actually help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a better quality of sleep. Just make sure to allow enough time to cool down after your workout.

Q: What is the best time of day to exercise?

A: The best time to exercise is whenever it fits into your schedule and works best for your body. Some people enjoy working out first thing in the morning, while others prefer later in the day. It really depends on your preferences and lifestyle.

Q: Are there any cons of working out late in the evening?

A: While exercising in the evening can have many benefits, such as helping you sleep better, some people may find that vigorous exercise too close to bedtime can affect their ability to fall asleep. It’s all about finding what works best for you.

Q: Is it bad to work out right before going to bed?

A: Exercising right before going to bed may raise your core body temperature, making it harder to fall asleep. It’s generally recommended to allow at least an hour before bedtime for your body to cool down after a workout.

Q: Does it matter what time of day you exercise?

A: The most important thing is to make sure you’re consistent with your exercise routine, whether you prefer to work out in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Find a time that works best for you and stick to it for the best results.

Q: Can working out in the evening affect your total sleep time?

A: Some studies suggest that nighttime exercise may not have a negative impact on total sleep time, as long as you’re still getting enough rest overall. It’s more important to focus on getting regular exercise than the specific time of day you work out.

In short, if you have been wondering if is it bad to work out at night, the simple answer is no. A workout before bed can be the key you have been looking for.  Especially if you are not a morning person, don’t have time in the middle of the day, or don’t want to do it till later in the day, this might be a positive change in your daily routine. You have to figure out the best time to squeeze in a workout, as long as it doesn’t disrupt your sleep and works for you and your work schedules, you are good! 

Why Busy Moms Need Exercise – How to Get Quick Home Workouts for Busy Working Moms Regardless of Your Schedule 



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Is A Work Out At Night Bad For You? -Try Exercise At Night To Positively Affect Your Sleep 1 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

SOURCES: Natural Library of Medicine

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Sabra Ritter
Sabra Ritter
Part event planner and marketing guru, part stay-at-home mom, and part blogger. Mom of two toddler girls, who are always keeping her on her toes. On the weekends you can find her at Southern California beaches or hiking with her family. Sabra loves to cook and is always creating something new!