The reason that most people struggle to fall asleep after a workout is that strenuous exercise triggers the release of cortisol, the stress hormone that prevents us from falling asleep. Cortisol is known to interfere with muscle recovery, and sleeping after a workout is a critical step in the process. Here are some ways to improve your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep after the gym.
Exercise inhibits cortisol secretion
The response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and a neuroendocrine feedback loop regulates circulating cortisol levels. Chronically high levels of cortisol are a hallmark of aging and may contribute to immunosenescence. Different types of exercise have varying effects on the release of cortisol. The effects of exercise on the body are often acute, but chronic activity may also affect cortisol levels in the long-term.
Cortisol inhibits sleep
If you are a fitness nut, you may be wondering why cortisol inhibits sleep after the gym. Cortisol is a hormone released in the body from the sympathetic nervous system, the same system responsible for the fight or flight response, and the parasympathetic nervous, the rest and digest system. If this is the case, yoga or meditation could help. Yoga poses and deep belly breaths may counter the intense vibes of a workout.
Cortisol inhibits muscle recovery
Cortisol is a stress hormone that increases during exercise and decreases during muscle recovery. Research shows that cortisol is particularly important for muscle recovery after exercise. The levels of cortisol rise and fall throughout the day. Therefore, it’s crucial to limit your workouts to one hour or less. The best way to ensure your muscles recover after an intense workout is to exercise before bed.
Napping can help facilitate muscle recovery
After a strenuous workout, you may find it difficult to fall asleep. A power nap can help you relax and finish your tasks, especially if you exercised early in the morning. You can also take a warm shower before bed, which will ease your muscles into sleep. Taking a nap after a gym session can also help you feel more relaxed during the day. A power nap can also help you sleep better at night.
Dehydration inhibits cortisol secretion
Whether you are a cardio bunny or an ultra-marathoner, dehydration after the gym can affect your performance. Dehydration inhibits cortisol secretion, and this effect is amplified if you are not hydrated after your workout. Although the physiological effect of dehydration on cortisol secretion is not yet well understood, it is likely to have a negative impact on your performance. This effect can be mitigated with a few simple lifestyle changes.
Exercise in the late afternoon to catch your core temperature’s post-workout decline
It’s proven that people who exercise in the late afternoon snooze better than those who work out at a later time. Late-night workouts are a perfect time to catch the body’s temperature and cortisol decline after a workout. It’s a good idea to schedule a workout at the same time every night, unless you’re able to work out in the morning. Biological clocks look for patterns, and it makes sense that exercising late in the afternoon would make your body more likely to fall asleep.