If you work out regularly, you may have a difficult time sleeping after your workout. Moderate aerobic activity is known to improve sleep quality. Typically, the toughest workouts are followed by the worst nights. Sleep is essential for our recovery. However, there are a few ways to improve your sleep after working out. Here are some tips:
Exercise increases cortisol levels
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released by the body as a response to stress. The higher your fitness level, the lower your cortisol levels will be. However, exercise will increase your cortisol levels for several hours after workout, which can have detrimental effects on your sleep. If you are experiencing trouble sleeping after a workout, you should start eating more healthy foods to reduce the amount of cortisol released after your workout.
Exercise speeds up recovery
Post-workout recovery is essential for athletes. The repeated stress from workouts can damage muscles, causing inflammation and soreness. When recovery time is inadequate, you may experience an injury, illness, or overtraining. While the importance of exercise is well-documented, the process of recovery is underrated. This phase of exercise adaptation involves rest, replenishing the body’s essential nutrients, reducing inflammation, and restoring the body’s homeostasis.
Cortisol levels affect sleep quality
Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands and the hypothalamus. These glands regulate your sleep cycle and circadian rhythms. The HPA axis is a complex network of hormone production centers in your body, including the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. They sit on top of your kidneys. In excess, cortisol can disrupt sleep quality.
Cold showers help muscles recover
If you’re working out, you know how important it is to rinse off properly after a hard gym session. However, there are many advantages to taking a cold shower after a gym session, and not all of them involve the use of ice. The best way to recover muscles is to alternate between hot and cold showers, which stimulate circulation and aid in the recovery process. Physical therapist Dr. Kristin Maynes said that the technique depends on the individual’s body type and the kind of workout they did.
Stress increases cortisol levels
The effects of exercise and stress are very similar, and both cause sleep problems. In a fight-or-flight situation, cortisol curbs non-essential functions such as digestion and growth. It also impacts brain regions that regulate mood, motivation, and emotion. It can even affect immune system response and digestive system function. Consequently, if you train too hard, your body’s response to exercise will be impaired.
Body temperature affects sleep
While there are several factors that can influence body temperature, exercise can interfere with sleep. The core body temperature decreases about two hours before bedtime and further drops during the night. However, exercise can raise the body temperature, disrupting the natural circadian clock and raising the risk of sleeping problems. The heat produced during exercise is attributed to hormones released during the exercise, including cortisol, which plays a crucial role in metabolism.