If you’re about middle aged, you’ve probably heard the old admonition from fitness experts: Don’t work out at night because your heart rate will elevate and it will be difficult to sleep.
A new study titled “Does Nighttime Exercise Really Disturb Sleep?” says the opposite. According to a reuters report, researchers found that people who exercised in the evening reported sleeping just as well as those who weren’t active in the hours before bed. People who worked out in the morning, however, reported getting the best sleep, on average.
“Sleep recommendations suggest avoiding exercise prior to bed,” said Matthew Buman in the article, lead author of the study from Arizona State University in Phoenix. “We found evidence to the contrary suggesting that individuals need not avoid exercise at night.”
Buman and his colleagues analyzed responses collected from 1,000 adults participating in the 2013 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll. The telephone- and web-based questionnaire asked participants how well they felt they slept, how long they slept each night, how much time it took them to fall asleep, and whether they felt refreshed after waking up in the morning.
“The poll also asked participants about their exercise habits, such as whether they worked out regularly and, if so, whether they were active in the morning, afternoon or evening,” writes Bond. “Evening was considered to be within four hours of going to sleep. Based on the types of physical activity participants performed regularly, like tai chi, running or yard work, workouts were categorized by intensity as light, moderate or vigorous.”