Trouble sleeping? It may be time to switch up your exercise routine. Celebrity trainer and creator of THE WALL and WIMBERLEAN, Jason Wimberly advises you to ditch the evening workouts and opt for early a.m. in lieu of a twilight sweat sesh, as they may be harming your sleep cycle.
"A late-night workout can really be disadvantageous for you. Our bodies are meant to shut down at a certain point in the day."
"Getting a workout in at any time is great, and I never tell someone to not do a workout," Jason said. "But a late-night workout can really be disadvantageous for you. Our bodies are meant to shut down at a certain point in the day."
At night, "your body is already producing a chemical to shut your brain down," Jason said. "Our bodies start producing melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep) as soon as the sun goes down; for most of us that's around 7 or 8. Fighting that [hormone] to get a workout in just because you 'need to' is not always the best idea. Hormonally and based on human circadian rhythms, working out after 8 p.m. should never happen."
Jason related vigorous p.m. workouts to screen time on your phone, which can be stimulating for the brain and counterproductive to rest. "We're looking at screens all the time, and anybody will tell you that you're not supposed to look at a screen or have screen time after a certain time of day." He said the same goes for exercise.
"Hormonally and based on human circadian rhythms, working out after 8 p.m. should never happen."
"I really try and stay away from night workouts for my clients and myself — with the boost of endorphins from a workout after 6 o'clock, it puts my brain into overdrive! If I work out after 6 p.m., I can't sleep," he said. "I taught a class at 7 o'clock [the other night] and I couldn't fall asleep until 11 p.m., which for me is like 3 in the morning! [laughs] My husband was like, what's wrong with you?!"
If your schedule consistently prevents you from doing a morning workout, he said the second most optimal time is between 1 and 3 p.m., but if that time frame is also impossible, he said try activities that are "soothing to the body and not super high intensity," like some "elliptical work that won't boost your heart rate too much, yoga, or more restorative work that's not going to give you that max heart rate. That's when your body goes into that calorie-burning area, that endorphin push — it's going to be hard to sleep."