Sack the Exercise Before You Go to Sleep

Want to feel more rested and energized in the morning?

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best, how rested do you feel when you wake up in the morning? If you are rating yourself less than an 8, consider if your exercise routine may be the culprit. If you are exercising at night, sack the exercise routine before you go to sleep and try exercising in the morning hours instead.

Exercising early is one of the best ways to benefit your body and mind. It helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which is responsible for keeping you alert and awake throughout the day. By getting up early and exercising, you’re setting a rhythm that will help you stay active and energized when tackling tasks during the day.

Morning exercise routines are a great way to jumpstart your energy and your day!

When the sun rises increasing temperature and light, it signals the body to release cortisol hormone giving you the energy to get up and get going making it the most ideal time to exercise. Plus, studies have shown that people who exercise in the morning tend to sleep better at night. That way, when it’s time for bed, your body is prepared for restful sleep, leading to a more productive tomorrow.

While exercising in the morning can be an energizing booster for many, for strength and anaerobic training, early afternoon exercise may be ideal. This is due to the body being at a more ideal core temperature and cortisol level.

People report having more energy, less anxiety, and better health when they are asleep by 10 pm and not wired from night-time exercise. Why is that?

According to the body’s natural circadian rhythm (aka cortisol and hormone rhythm), every 1 hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours of rest for the body! Being tired, not wired, and asleep by 10 pm allows the body to enter its deepest states of sleep, restoration, and recovery so you can feel energized in the morning, boost your immunity, and improve your overall health.

Here’s the tricky part…your body ONLY performs this critical repair from 10 pm-4 am based on its internal clock that is ruled by the sun cycles. During this time, human growth hormone is released to restore critical systems, balance hormones, and reset the nervous system. any other essential functions follow throughout the night. So if you aren’t sleeping during this time, your body misses out on the opportunity to detoxify and heal. You can’t make up for this lost time, no matter how much you sleep in. Also, it has been suggested that because exercise helps to prevent muscle loss (sarcopenia), when circadian rhythms are disrupted, this benefit may be negatively impacted.

With normal circadian rhythms, when the sun sets, decreasing temperature and light signals the body to lower cortisol and release the sleep hormone melatonin making it the least ideal time to exercise.

Based on this rhythm, exercising in the evening time can:

 ☝️ Spike your cortisol levels

 🦉 Make you a night owl

 ⚖️ Disrupt the rest of your hormone balance

Evening exercise can contribute to anxiety, weight gain, low energy, and eventually more severe health issues. Also, because cortisol is usually decreasing by evening, it may potentially decrease exercise performance. So sack the exercise routine that is too close to your sleep time and try to get your workout done at least three-four hours before hitting the sack.

With an earlier exercise routine, you’ll be well-rested when it comes time to face the day. Plus, you can look forward to greater energy, improved mood, and better overall health with regular morning exercise! To feel your best, aim to exercise in the morning and be asleep by 10 pm most nights of the week!

Keeping your circadian rhythm tuned with good exercise habits supports quality sleep and is good for your health. It’s like taking your car for a tune-up every day!


Haupt S, Eckstein ML, Wolf A, Zimmer RT, Wachsmuth NB, Moser O. Eat, Train, Sleep-Retreat? Hormonal Interactions of Intermittent Fasting, Exercise and Circadian Rhythm. Biomolecules. 2021 Mar 30;11(4):516. doi: 10.3390/biom11040516. PMID: 33808424; PMCID: PMC8065500.

Choi Y, Cho J, No MH, Heo JW, Cho EJ, Chang E, Park DH, Kang JH, Kwak HB. Re-Setting the Circadian Clock Using Exercise against Sarcopenia. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 28;21(9):3106. doi: 10.3390/ijms21093106. PMID: 32354038; PMCID: PMC7247148.

Aoyama S, Shibata S. Time-of-Day-Dependent Physiological Responses to Meal and Exercise. Front Nutr. 2020 Feb 28;7:18. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.00018. PMID: 32181258; PMCID: PMC7059348.

Fairbrother K, Cartner B, Alley JR, Curry CD, Dickinson DL, Morris DM, Collier SR. Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2014 Dec 12;10:691-8. doi: 10.2147/VHRM.S73688. PMID: 25540588; PMCID: PMC4270305.

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