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Evening Exercise May Not Negatively Affect Sleep Quality

Many people, including sleep researchers, believe that exercise before bed will negatively affect sleep quality. However, a recent study suggests that exercising in the evening does not actually lead to sleep problems.


For this study, researchers examined 23 studies that addressed sleep and exercise. They found that, in general, exercise in the four hours before going to bed did not negatively affect sleep quality. In fact, it might have a slightly positive effect.


Specifically, they found that people who exercised in the evening spent 21.2% of their sleeping time in deep sleep, compared with 19.9% of sleeping time spent in deep sleep for people who did not exercise in the evening.


The only exception was vigorous training within an hour before bedtime. Participants in one study who engaged in vigorous training one hour before bedtime took longer to fall asleep.


Researchers from the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport in Switzerland conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 29, 2018, in Sports Medicine.


Some methods to try to improve your sleep include eating less high fat foods, eliminating “blue light” (such as the light from your phone) just before bed, eliminating caffeine before bed time, and increasing exercise levels.

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