If you’re one of those people who find a nighttime run soothes your nerves, you might want to reevaluate if your sleep quality has been poor. New studies show that intense exercising two hours before your bedtime can decrease REM sleep length.
Intense workout routines like HIIT, CrossFit, and sprints should not be performed before bed, or you’re going to sabotage your sleep quality!
Why is REM sleep quality important?
There are four stages of sleep, REM sleep is just one of them, but it’s imperative. When this cycle of sleep is impacted, it will affect these areas:
- Your Mood
- Sense of Wellbeing
- Sense of Restfulness
- Memory and Learning
What kind of Exercise is okay to perform near your bedtime?
Low-intensity or steady-state exercise is actually a-okay at nighttime; this may actually help you fall asleep faster. If you’re unsure of what is considered low-impact, think about your heart rate.
To determine what is considered low-impact, you need to know your MNR and a heart rate monitor.
- Calculate your MNR first.
Your maxim heart rate or (MNR) is a number that is derived from subtracting your age (X) from 220, so (220-X) would give your MNR. So, for example, if you’re 34, your MNR is 186 bpm.
- Calculate your target low-intensity exercise heart rate next.
Low-intensity Exercise uses 40-50% of your MNR. For example, a low-intensity workout would bring a 34-year-old’s heart rate to 74.4 - 93 bpm.
Compare this number to your resting heart rate to see if it makes sense.
To put this in perspective, a well-trained athlete will have a resting heartbeat of 40bpm. Therefore, the lower your resting heart rate, the healthier your heart is considered to be.
Yes, You Can Still Exercise Before Bed
As long as you stay within your MNR, you can keep exercising before bed, and it may be just what your need to settle your mind before sleeping. Even during low-intensity training, your core body temperature will rise; once you cool down and shower, your body temperature will drop, which could promote feelings of drowsiness and lull you to sleep.
Examples of Low-Intensity Training:
- Casual cycling
- Light Jogging
- Swimming Laps
- Beginners Yoga
- Tai Chi
- Long-Distance Walking
Exercise has also been proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, so if you ever deal with stress dreams of crushing anxiety before bed, this could be just the trick for you.