How to Sleep After Exercise – A Guide to Post Workout Sleep Recovery
3 min read
Last Modified 17 September 2021 First Added 4 April 2018
Trying to sleep after exercise can prove a lot more difficult than you’d first imagine. Though you may feel physically exhausted, post-exercise insomnia can set in, particularly after strenuous workouts or endurance tests. As it’s such an important topic, we gave it the Dr. Pixie treatment and used how exercise affects sleep as a subject for our Sleep Matters podcast. We’ve also created an infographic below, of our tips and tricks for better post workout sleep and the reasons why it’s so important to do so if you want those gains.
Related – Sleeping Positions Guide
We’ve all felt the benefits of a great night’s sleep. But it’s even more important for athletes to rest properly to aid muscle recovery and growth after exercise.
After a big race or heavy training session, sleeplessness can occur. This is also known as post-exercise insomnia.
During sleep, we pass through various stages, all of which play a role to restoration. Stages 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep, also known as ‘deep sleep’, are the most important for muscle recovery.
Anything longer can reset your body clock and damage your sleep cycle the following night. Anything shorter may not give adequate time for your body to fully recover from the stress of training.
Physical activity puts stress on the muscles and nervous system. This is rebuilt during sleep.
During strenuous workouts, muscles build up microscopic tears. Sleep helps to heal those tears as your body produces larger molecules to repair muscular, immune and nervous system problems.
The body needs to synthesise proteins faster than it breaks them down to build up muscles. Sleep is the best time for the body to use absorbed nutrients for this protein synthesis as it’s the longest we go without eating.
Building muscle mass is also known as hypertrophy
Make the most of your training with a great night’s sleep – the results should follow!