Avoid These Exercises If You're Working Out At Night

The time of day you squeeze your exercise routine in may be due to convenience, or it could be personal preference. While morning fitness sessions are good for boosting energy and focus, night-time workouts can be good for unwinding and sleeping better. However, if you happen to be a night-time fitness enthusiast, according to clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep expert Michael Breus, there is one exercise you should avoid before bed (via HuffPost).

Breus says refrain from a cardio workout at least four hours prior to your bedtime, stating "regular cardiovascular exercise appears to help people fall asleep and stay asleep," although the time of day does matter. Extreme exercise increases your body temperature, which restricts the sleep hormone, melatonin, from being released. Melatonin is released from the brain when your core body temperature is lower, Breus tells HuffPost.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, intense exercise before bedtime may contribute to poor sleep, so it is best to avoid vigorous activity at that time. 

How HIIT and weight training affect sleep

Like cardio, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is designed to get your heart rate up, and according to certified personal trainer Keith Hodges, it can boost your energy levels, which is not optimal before bedtime. According to Well + Good, it is best to avoid HIIT sessions up to one hour before bed, as research shows the body needs at least an hour to recover from intense workouts.

If you must hit the gym before bed, there is good news, according to certified personal trainer Tatiana Boncompagni, who tells Huff Post that weightlifting may be a beneficial evening workout. "When you're done weightlifting, which taxes your central nervous system, you might feel a buzz and be in a calm, relaxed state ... which it is ideal if you plan to just chill out and go to bed [after working out]," Boncompagni says.

The bottom line is that any time of the day you can fit exercise in is beneficial for your health. By being aware of your sleep patterns and how they are affected by your fitness routine, you can adjust the timing on your more-intense workouts for optimal rest.