man sleeping and dreaming about having big muscles

Should You Hit the Gym or Hit the Hay? The Pros and Cons of Working Out Before Bed

After a long day at work, you may find yourself feeling completely exhausted. At this point. You are faced with a dilemma - should you prioritize exercise or sleep? Some individuals firmly believe in fitting in a quick workout before bed. Asserting that it helps them unwind and sleep more soundly. On the other hand some vehemently avoid exercising before bedtime claiming that it ramps up their metabolism and hinders their ability to fall asleep. The question remains: which perspective is correct? The truth is that it ultimately depends on various factors. Both sides of the argument possess advantages and disadvantages and the most suitable choice for you can hinge upon your individual preferences, objectives, and lifestyle. Now let us delve into the benefits and drawbacks of engaging in physical activity before bed. As well as how you can successfully incorporate it into your routine.

The Benefits of Working Out Before Bed

It can help you unwind and de-stress.

Should you discover yourself brimming with energy or grappling with anxiety by days' end. Incorporating exercise into your pre-sleep routine can provide respite by enabling its release. Furthermore, research shows that exercise has the potential to uplift one's' spirits and enhance their self worth, fostering increased happiness and tranquility before heading off to bed.

It can improve your sleep quality.

Several studies indicate that engaging in moderate intensity exercise prior to sleeping can significantly enhance the quality and duration of your sleep. Particularly if you struggle with insomnia or have suboptimal sleep habits. Additionally exercise aids in regulating your circadian rhythm, which is essentially your body's internal clock governing your sleep wake cycle.

It can fit your schedule better.

If you have a busy lifestyle or a hectic work schedule, working out before bed may be the only time you can squeeze in some physical activity. As long as you don’t compromise your sleep quantity or quality, exercising before bed can help you stay fit and healthy without sacrificing your other commitments.

The Drawbacks of Working Out Before Bed

It can interfere with your sleep quantity.

There may be individuals who experience improved sleep after engaging in exercise. However others might encounter difficulties with falling asleep or maintaining sleep. This discrepancy can be attributed to the fact that physical exertion has the capability to elevate body temperature, heart rate, and adrenaline levels. As a result an individual may remain alert and stimulated for a considerable period following their workout regimen. It is important to note that if one engages in exercise too close to bedtime they may not allow sufficient time for their body to cool down and unwind before sleep onset.

It can affect your sleep quality.

Achieving a state of peacefulness after exercising may not guarantee an optimal night’s sleep. It should be noted that exercise can disrupt different stages of sleep, especially those imperative deep and REM phases necessary for recuperation on both physical and mental levels. When engaging in overly intense workouts or participating in late night activities. It becomes possible that attaining enough restorative rest would prove challenging. The resulting lack of proper slumber has the potential to affect your overall health and adversely impact performance levels in the subsequent day.

It can cause injuries or discomfort.

Engaging in physical activity prior to going to bed can potentially heighten the likelihood of sustaining injuries or experiencing discomfort. Particularly if one fails to adequately warm up or engage in stretching exercises post workout. Exercise can result in muscle soreness, stiffness, cramping, or spasms thereby impeding one's' ability to achieve restful sleep or maintain comfort during the course of the night. Moreover. Exercise has the potential to trigger acid reflux or heartburn. Which can either hinder sleep or induce sensations of nausea.

How to Make Working Out Before Bed Work for You

man working out at night

If you decide to work out before bed, here are some tips to make it work for you:

It is important to choose the appropriate type of exercise before bed. Not all exercises have the same effect on your body and mind during this time. Certain exercises can be stimulating while others can be more relaxing. It is generally recommended to avoid high intensity or vigorous exercises that cause a significant increase in heart rate and adrenaline levels such as sprinting, HIIT, or heavy lifting. Instead. It is advisable to choose low- to moderate intensity exercises that promote calmness in both your mind and body. Options like yoga, pilates, stretching, or walking are ideal for this purpose.

Choose the right time to exercise.

The timing of your workout plays an important role in getting a good night’s sleep. It is recommended to complete your exercise routine at least three hours before you plan to go to bed. This will allow your body sufficient time to unwind and relax. In case you are unable to achieve this try to finish your workout at least one hour before bedtime. However, It would be best to avoid exercising right before going to sleep.

Choose the right environment to exercise.

The environment in which you engage in physical activity can impact the quality of your sleep following a workout. It is advisable to refrain from exercising in settings that are bright or noisy. As they can stimulate your senses and hinder the ability to fall asleep. Instead. Opt for a location that is dimly lit or dark. Offering a serene and tranquil atmosphere conducive to relaxation. Additionally. Incorporating elements such as music, aromatherapy, or meditation can further enhance this soothing environment.

Choose the right post-workout routine.

It is important to consider your post workout routine as it can affect your quality of sleep. It is recommended to ensure you stay hydrated. As exercise can lead to dehydration and trigger thirst or a dry mouth. Consuming a small snack that includes protein and carbohydrates. Like a banana with peanut butter or a glass of milk. Can help restore your energy levels and prevent hunger. It is advisable to steer clear of substances like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, or spicy foods as they can disrupt the quality of your sleep. Lastly, taking a warm shower or bath after your workout can assist in lowering your body temperature and relaxing your muscles.


Deciphering whether working out prior to bedtime is a wise decision relies heavily on individual preferences, aspirations, and lifestyles. It is vital to acknowledge that arguments exist on both ends of the spectrum; there are pros as well as cons associated with either choice made. Ultimately determining what option suits an individual person would greatly rest upon his/her response subsequent to exercising; paying special attention how one feels after engaging in a workout session before slumbering as well as analyzing sleep quality afterwards. 

In case choosing an evening workout seems appealing; utmost care must be invested selecting exercises most appropriate catering such uniqueness in timing as well accommodating other aspects surrounding workouts including allocating sufficient time for exercises correctly carried out amongst other factors influencing workout ambiance; complemented by post-workout routine choreographed to extract maximum benefits while minimizing potential drawbacks. It is important to emphasize the significance of attentively listening to one's body and complying with personal inclinations. 

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.