Exercise Before Bed Benefits – Is IT Good to Cycle before Sleep?
Exercising regularly has a range of benefits from better sleep, to reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Not to mention weight loss and other health benefits. However, is it good to cycle before sleep? Or is there any benefit to exercising before bed?
Many people think that exercising or cycling before bed can make it harder to sleep. In this article, we look at recent studies that tell us what the exercise before bed benefits are. So, keep reading to find out more.
Is it Good to Cycle Before Sleep? What Should You know?
Cycling before sleep has widely been discouraged over the years. It was a general consensus that doing any type of cycling workout before sleep would make it harder for the body to fall asleep.
However, recent studies have shown that low to moderate cycling at least 1-2 hours before you sleep is ok. That means any high-intensity workouts, should be avoided if you are planning to sleep directly after your training.
Workouts such as endurance, recovery, and tempo rides are all ok to plan in before you sleep. However, take into account that you should plan to finish your workout at least 1 hour before heading to bed. This will allow the body to wind down after exercise and digest any food you have eaten. Allowing the body to fall asleep much easier.
Workouts like threshold, v02, or high-intensity sprints should ultimately be avoided if you plan to go to sleep directly after a workout.
Although some people are an exception to the rule and can perform any type of cycling workout before sleeping. Most of us mere mortals will need to follow the recommendations above so we don’t continuously struggle to get to sleep.
Exercise Before Bed Benefits – Are There Any?
Even though high-intensity training should be avoided before heading to bed, there is some exercise before bed benefits that you should know about. So we don’t entirely put you off doing your workouts late at night.
Doing low-intensity exercise (like cycling) has been proven to improve sleep quality. Generally if performed at least 1 hour before sleeping, exercise has been shown to increase the time spent in deep sleep. Deep sleep then helps to improve your immune system, support cardiac health and help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Another positive of exercising before bed and its benefits are reduced stress and anxiety. Exercises regularly help to trigger anti-anxiety responses in the body. This ultimately helps lower cortisol levels and reduce blood pressure.
So if we sum up the most common exercise before bed benefits there would be:
– Increased time in a deep sleep
– Reduced stress levels
– Reduction in Anxiety
– Helps with insomnia and sleep disorders
Just remember to keep the intensity low. That means if you are planning to run or cycle before sleeping, keep the intensity under 75% of your maximum heart rate. That is unless you have some hours before you sleep, then you can increase the intensity.
The same goes for weight training before bed and other sports like swimming and rowing. The same principles apply.
So next time you plan in your hard workouts before bedtime, give yourself a few hours after to let the body wind down.
Should You Exercise at Night to Lose Weight? Morning vs Night
For years there has been a debate of exercising during the morning vs night. Should you exercise at night to lose weight? Or is it better to exercise in the morning vs night?
A review of two studies around the link between body clocks and physical activity was performed. And what they found was exercising in the evening may be more beneficial than exercising in the morning.
The study showed us that oxygen consumption was lower in the evening with the control group. That meant that performance was naturally improved, meaning you would ultimately lose weight faster than in the morning. This is largely due to the protein known as HIF-1a, which plays an important role in weight loss. HIF-1a has been known to vary throughout the day but activated when exercise is performed.
So when should you exercise?
There is lots of proof that exercising in the evening vs morning is better. However, the studies are limited to small groups of people. So unfortunately more study is needed to gain a firm understanding if cycling before bed is good, or even exercise for that matter.
What is the Best Exercise Before Bed?
If you struggle to cycle before sleeping or even running there are other exercises you can plan into your evening activities. One of the best exercises before bed is yoga. Low-intensity workouts like yoga tend to not affect sleep as much as other exercise regimes. However, you may be an endurance athlete that is training for the Haute Route or training for a marathon. Either way, you may still need to fit in your workout in the evening.
If this is the case remember to ease back the intensity if you have less than 90 minutes after your workout to bedtime.
If you aren’t training for a specific event, try shifting some of your more intense workouts to the mornings or weekends. That will allow you to sleep much easier in the evenings. Alternatively, if you aren’t able to move your training sessions to the mornings, try starting the workout earlier in the evening. Doing so will give the body more time to work out after those hard intervals.
A Word From the Coach
We know how hectic people’s lives are, and planning exercise in is much more complicated than just starting a workout earlier. That is why a coach with unlimited contact can help you plan your training around your lifestyle and sleeping patterns. This makes sure you get the most out of your workouts and training without affecting your sleeping pattern.