Researchers from Switzerland analysed 23 previous studies investigating the effects of a single workout in the evening on sleep, featuring 275 participants.
In all but one study, the volunteers were healthy exercisers with healthy sleeping patterns. Running and cycling were the most popular forms of exercise, lasting an average of 87 minutes.
Participants wrapped up their session on average 1.8 hours before before bed. Somehow, some managed to clock off just 12 minutes after a workout.
Findings suggest that exercising late in the evening isn't the cause of restlessness before bedtime. Although, there is some suggestion that a tough workout can prolong the time before falling asleep, hitting the gym won't cause disruption throughout the night.
There was also no difference between regular gym-goers and first-time lifters.
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“Overall, the studies reviewed do not support the hypothesis that evening exercise negatively affects sleep; rather, if anything, the opposite was the case (although the effects were small), with one potential exception: with intense exercise very close to bedtime, time to sleep, sleep efficiency and total sleep time might be impaired,” say the researchers.
Despite the positive results, scientists still need to determine the best type of exercise before sleep-time and the ideal amount of time between working out and hitting the sack. Vigorous exercise may have the potential to keep you wired and lengthen the time it takes to fall asleep.