Is Exercising Right Before Bedtime A Good Idea? The Answer Might Surprise You

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exercising at homeA lot of people have the belief that exercising too close to bedtime is not a good idea. The truth is that for a lot of women, each day they have so many things to do that exercising at the end of the day is often the only option. Also, even while a lot of people believe that exercising close to bed time is bad, there is actually no solid evidence to back up the claims.

“Light exercise and stretching before bed are probably a good thing,” said Christopher Colwell, a neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies the neurobiology of sleep.

On the other hand, “I would not recommend a heavy cardio workout within an hour or two before bed,” Dr. Colwell said in an e-mail. Mouse experiments in his lab suggest that when mice run for prolonged periods in the equivalent of their nighttime (chronologically opposite of ours; mice are nocturnal), their natural circadian rhythms become unsettled and they don’t sleep as soundly.

His research suggests that a similar effect could apply to humans, though not to everyone. “There will be some people that will tell you that they go for a run, come home and sleep like a baby,” Dr. Colwell said. “If this works for them, no reason to change. Others will do the same workout and not be able to sleep” for two or three hours, he said. “The best advice here is to know yourself.”

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