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The best time to exercise for a good night’s sleep

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Sleep and exercise are two of the most important elements of a healthy lifestyle, but what if the two interfere with one another?

If you exercise routinely and often struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, there’s a chance that the timing or type of your workouts is to blame. If you miss a lot of afternoon or evening workouts because of lack of time, then getting up a little earlier for morning workouts may work better.

Benefits to morning exercise include:

  • Neurotransmitters released may help you focus and think with greater clarity.
  • The metabolism boost may help you burn more calories.
  • You may fall asleep easier after an early-morning workout.

Afternoon workouts have their own benefits, too. You’re at less risk of injury because your muscles are already warm, and you may fall asleep faster and remain asleep for a longer period of time, similar to morning workouts.

There are even benefits to evening workouts. One study highlighted by Men’s Health showed that strength-training workouts performed after 7 p.m. helped some people sleep through the night.

The type of workout that you perform may make a difference here. An intense cardiovascular workout may wake you up too much to promote sleep, but lifting weights or performing yoga may actually help you sleep easier.

Experiment to see what works well for you. Commit to exercise at a certain time, then remain consistent for two weeks. Pay attention to how you feel at the end rather than the beginning because you may have an adjustment period. If that doesn’t work, go for a different time of day or switch up the type of workouts that you do at different times during the day. Eventually, you will find a schedule that allows your sleep and workout routines to get along.

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