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Nighttime workouts won’t disrupt sleep

February 28, 2014

With a busy schedule, it can be hard to find time to fit in a great session on commercial fitness equipment. While you have may the best intentions of hitting the gym before work, when that alarm goes off in the a.m., all thoughts of commercial treadmills may be traded for an extra hour of sleep. You may be concerned that exercising after work will wreak havoc on your sleep schedule, especially if you have an intense round on commercial exercise bikes, but a new study published in Sleep Medicine found that this isn’t actually the case. Researchers learned that men and women who work out in the evening (within four hours of going to bed) noted sleeping just as well as people who weren’t active during the same time frame. Data was collected from 1,000 adults who took part in the 2013 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll. The survey asked questions about how well participants felt during sleep, how long they slept at night, how long it took them to fall asleep and how refreshed they felt in the morning. Participants also talked about their fitness habits, including if they worked out regularly and at what time of day. The results showed no difference in the sleep measures between those who took part in moderate to vigorous exercise in the evenings and those who did not. “Sleep recommendations suggest avoiding exercise prior to bed,” lead author Matthew Buman told Reuters. “We found evidence to the contrary suggesting that individuals need not avoid exercise at night.” Keep in mind that those who spent time on commercial ellipticals in the morning said they got the best sleep. But if you’re not a morning person, those post-work fitness sessions won’t keep you up all night.