Napping or Sleeping After Workout

Is napping after a workout a good idea or not? Scientists can’t seem to agree on many things when it comes to exercise and sleep, so it’s no surprise that things are not different when we decide to combine the two activities. 

It is generally agreed that both sleep and exercise are very important, keeping your mind and body healthy in different, equally important ways. Problems arise when we start to get into the details, such as how much you should work out, and what kind of sleep schedule is best. Naturally, that also means there are conflicting opinions on when you should sleep relative to your workout. 

You’ve probably also heard that working out before bed is not the best idea, and you might have even experienced some problems falling asleep after a late workout. The truth is that the answer to the question of exercising before bed depends on many factors, such as your ability to wind-down, as well as the intensity of the workout itself.

Exercise Types

Three types of workouts exist and you can choose the kind you want to do depending on the results you’re looking to achieve. Some people simply want to keep their heart healthy and lung capacity high, while others want to build muscle and get huge. There are exercise types for these people as well as everyone in between, and it’s usually a good idea to combine exercises of all kinds into your weekly routine.

Flexibility Training

Before we move on to the most commonly used types of exercise out there, we’ll deal with one that people don’t talk about that often, but it remains equally important as the other two. This kind of exercise allows you to stretch your muscles and make your joints and tendons stronger, extending your freedom of movement without injury. 

If you keep yourself flexible and bendy, strength and endurance training will be more comfortable and safer. In this day and age, this type of workout is especially important due to our tendency to sit for long periods. It is not particularly demanding in terms of energy, making it the perfect candidate for winding down before bed, especially if you like to sleep on a firm mattress.

Anaerobic Exercise

Short bursts of highly intense activity make for an anaerobic workout. This encapsulates things like lifting heavy weights or doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT). What this type of exercise does is initiate glucose breakdown in your cells to give additional power to your muscles and making them stronger in the short term, which allows them to grow. 

It involves alternating intense workouts with short recovery periods, and experts say it is one of the most efficient ways for speeding up your metabolism and burning excess calories. It is also highly demanding in terms of energy, which means it might cause some sleep-related problems if done late in the evening.

Aerobic Workout

Working several muscles at the same time for an extended period at a steady pace is called an aerobic workout. Roughly translated from its Greek origin, the word means ‘with air (oxygen).’ This is because your muscles require oxygen to produce energy for a sustained period, so your lungs and heart work overtime to deliver. It is the type of workout which allows for blood flow increase, lung strengthening and cardiovascular conditioning. Jogging, swimming, cycling or even sex are all examples of this type of exercise. 

Starting with aerobic exercise is recommended for anyone looking to enhance their overall level of fitness and health. Improved stamina, increased mobility, as well as weight loss, can all be achieved with continuous performance. Most people prefer doing this type of workout in the morning because it tends to provide an energy boost for the rest of the day, meaning it isn’t a great candidate for napping after working out.

Pros and Cons of Sleeping After Working Out

Pros

Do you find yourself feeling sleepy after a workout? This may be a signal from your body to get some shut-eye and recover some of that lost energy. Your body uses sleep to repair muscles, bones, and joints that were exerted during exercise, and the process of sleep is crucial for building strength and endurance. 

To achieve the full benefits of sleep when it comes to its restorative properties, you need to be in REM, so taking power naps doesn’t quite get you there. However, power or coffee naps can help you stay alert and awake without having to compromise your bedtime routine.

Napping can be helpful in other aspects of your wellbeing, such as learning and processing new things, which is a crucial skill in the fast-paced world of today, so don’t be afraid to use your futon mattress. A full night’s sleep is still required for the maximum benefits, but a quick nap can give you a short-term boost when it comes to memory, learning, and other cognitive functions.

Cons

If you’ve ever done an extremely strenuous workout before bed, you’ve probably run into some trouble when it comes to falling asleep. This is because our body releases a particular type of hormone called cytokine, during and after heavy exercise. These hormones are the same ones your body releases when you have the flu or a cold. 

Depending on how you react to the hormone, you may feel the need to sleep, but the cortisol in your bloodstream may be preventing you from falling asleep, which creates a highly unpleasant sensation. If you feel the need to doze off after every workout, this may be a sign that you’re working too hard, and you might want to consider toning down your activities. There is such a thing as over-training, and you’d be surprised at how many people suffer from this problem.

Our advice is to keep moving after your workout, and this may be the best time to throw in some stretching exercises. Your body will be warm and ready to stretch, giving you the most flexibility, and stretching is one of the best cool-down activities you can do.

FAQ

Do women need more sleep when they work out?

According to experts in sleep science, women need an average of twenty minutes more sleep than men provided that they spend the same amount of energy during the day. The culprit for this seems to be the fact that women’s brains have a natural tendency to multi-task, thus using more brainpower. However, the need to sleep more extends to physical activity as well, especially since women on average, spend more energy than men to do the same exercise.

Does sex help you sleep?

If there’s anything the bedroom is made for, other than sleep, it is sex. But can this beautiful act also help you get better sleep? The answer is yes, and not only that but the relationship goes the other way as well, as more sleep helps boost your sex drive. 

Conclusion

If you feel tired after a workout, perhaps the best thing to do is listen to your body and take a nap. However, your body may also be telling you that you’re exercising too much or that your workout is too exhausting. 

Napping after exercise can help speed up your recovery and repair tissue in your body, and a short rest may even be essential, depending on the type of activity you like to do. That said, if you’re an average gym-goer, your body shouldn’t be releasing as much cortisol and other hormones as the body of a professional athlete does. 

There is a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to exercise, diet, and sleep, so the best thing you can do is what feels right for you. Moderate exercise during the day and 7-9 hours of sleep each night is a great start.

Sources

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/13/health/nutrition/13Best.html
https://www.dreams.co.uk/sleep-matters-club/sleep-exercise-aid-muscle-recovery-growth/
https://www.sleep.org/articles/how-sleep-adds-muscle/

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