Now that we lead increasingly busy lives, evening is the most convenient time of day to exercise, and the ideal time for cricket clubs to hold mid-week practice sessions. Until now, it has been accepted that we should never exercise in the hours before bedtime as the stimulation of exercise, combined with rises in body temperature, would keep people awake.
However, new research from the National Sleep Foundation has suggested that most people can sleep perfectly well after a workout.
Their 2013 Sleep in America Poll has revealed that people who exercise at any time of the day report sleeping better, and feeling more rested, than those who don’t exercise at all. A researcher from the University of South Carolina, who worked on the poll, also conducted a study in which fit young men with no sleep problems rode stationary bikes for three hours and went to bed just 30 minutes later. They all slept soundly.
Other studies in good sleepers have shown similar results; he is now starting a study of evening exercise in otherwise inactive people who do have sleep problems.
Any exercise is better for sleep and health than none. Michael Grandner, sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has commented on a larger survey of over 150,000 people, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also found that people who did any exercise, no matter how light, reported significantly better sleep than that experienced by non exercisers.
Over 80% of vigorous exercisers reported very or fairly good sleep quality versus only 56% of non-exercisers. Although both exercisers and non-exercises reported about the same amount of sleep, just under seven hours a night, the quality of sleep of those who exercised was much better.
Danny Tennant, celebrity fitness trainer and fan of DKN home exercise equipment, says, "As a personal trainer I exercise throughout the day with my clients. I find that the only time I really get to train myself is in the evening, when I either go to the gym or go Muay Thai Boxing.
"Training in the evening really helps me to unwind after a busy day of working with clients. I haven't found any problems with getting to sleep at night as a result but I think it can depend on the individual and their own schedules."
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