Dr. Amy Wolkin is a physical therapist based in Atlanta, GA. After graduating from Wellesley College in 2012, she pursued dual graduate degrees at Emory University. She graduated in 2017 with her Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees. Her clinical interests are outpatient orthopedics, women’s health, and pediatric sports medicine. She has advanced training in dry needling and pelvic floor physical therapy.
Medically Reviewed by Amy Wolkin, DPT, MBA

Is Exercising Before Bed Good?

Many people enjoy working out in the evening, but you may have heard warnings that nighttime exercise can harm your sleep quality. Plenty of research has been done on the subject. In summary, as long as you choose the right activities, working out before bed doesn’t have to hurt your sleep. In fact, exercise before bed can improve your sleep quality in many circumstances. 

What Do The Experts Say?

There are some mixed messages from experts regarding whether it’s a good idea to work out before bed. Traditionally, experts have found nighttime exercise to be harmful to a healthy night’s sleep. More recently, they’ve discovered that to be true of certain exercises. According to Dr. Howard LeWine, Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch vigorous exercise before bed should be avoided. Lighter exercise doesn’t harm your sleep quality. It can help you to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.

Experts have also cited the benefits of activities like yoga and pilates before bed. Stretching directly before or after sleeping can help to relieve muscle tension and improve blood flow. Doing these activities before sleep can ensure you wake up free of muscle pain.

How Does Exercise Impact Sleep?

Overall, regular exercise is an excellent and natural way to help improve your sleep quality. While experts don’t fully understand the connection between exercise and sleep, they feel confident that there’s a link. In fact, some medical experts find exercise to be as effective as prescription sleeping pills for helping people to fall asleep.

First, exercise helps to tire you out, ensuring that you’re ready to fall asleep when your head hits the pillow at night. Next, exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety, which are two factors that cause many people to lose sleep. Finally, exercise often gets people outdoors, which contributes to healthy sleep all on its own.

But as we’ve mentioned, exercising the wrong way can negatively impact sleep. Heavy exercise causes your body to release endorphins, which can give you even more energy. Additionally, it can raise your body temperature, creating sleeping conditions that aren’t ideal.

Can Exercising Before Bed Affect Your Sleep?

Exercising before bed can have a positive or negative effect on your sleep — depending on the type of exercise you engage in. Medical experts have found that light exercise can help people to fall asleep more quickly and spend more time in deep sleep. 

On the other hand, those who participate in vigorous exercise before bed are likely to experience the opposite. You may have a hard time falling asleep, and your sleep quality is likely to suffer. Keep in mind that research is based on the results of the people who participated in the study. It’s possible that your experience could be different.

How Can I Get Better Sleep After A Workout?

Want to make sure you’re getting the best night’s sleep after your workout? Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make that should help:

  • Schedule high-intensity workouts for earlier in the day. These workouts are likely to leave you feeling more energized and can hurt your sleep quality.
  • Schedule light exercise like yoga and pilates right before bed. These workouts can relieve tension and help you to sleep more deeply.
  • Turn down the temperature in your home. One of the reasons nighttime workouts can hurt your sleep quality is they increase your body temperature. Keeping your home at the ideal sleep temperature at night can help to counteract this. 
  • Buy the right mattress. Having a good mattress for your body and sleep style is critical for getting a good night’s sleep. This is especially true for those who suffer from muscle aches after a workout. Check out our list of the best mattresses to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Low intensity workouts like yoga can relieve tension, helping you sleep better.

Pros And Cons Of Exercising Before Bed

If done correctly, exercising before bed can be great for your sleep quality. But if you don’t choose your exercise correctly, it could be harmful.


  • Helps reduce stress and anxiety: Exercise, in general, helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which are two factors that keep many people awake at night.
  • Can help you to fall asleep faster: Experts have found that those who engage in light workouts before bed fall asleep more quickly.
  • Reduces muscle tension: Stretching exercises like yoga and pilates help reduce muscle tension, which improves sleep quality.
  • Helps improve muscle feeling in the morning: Stretching exercises like yoga and pilates right before bed help you wake up free of muscle pain.
  • Improves deep sleep: Experts have found that those who engage in light workouts before bed spend more time in deep sleep.


  • Boost endorphins: High-intensity exercise can boost your endorphins. This increases your energy level and can make it more difficult to fall asleep for the next several hours.
  • Increases body temperature: Exercise increases your body temperature. Experts have found that cooler environments and a lower body temperature are better for sleep quality.
  • Reduces sleep quality: Dr. LeWine pointed to a  2018 Sports Medicine study that found that those who engaged in high-intensity exercise like interval training less than one hour before bed had poorer sleep quality.

What Types Of Exercise Are Good for Sleep?

If you plan to work out at night, there are definitely some types of exercise that are better than others. The best workouts for sleep include stretching activities like yoga and pilates. These help to relieve muscle tension and relax you. Not to mention, they help prepare you for a morning free of muscle pain. If yoga or pilates aren’t your thing, any type of light exercise is okay.

High-intensity exercises aren’t as good for sleep. These workouts can boost your endorphins, which give you more energy and make it difficult to fall asleep. Not only do they make it harder to fall asleep, but they hurt your overall sleep quality.


Is It OK To Work Out At Night?

Experts have found that working out shortly before sleep is okay. But if you work out at night, it’s best to avoid high-intensity workouts and opt for lighter workouts and stretching instead.

What Time Of Day To Exercise For Better Sleep? 

If you do the right type of exercise, it can be beneficial for sleep at any time of day. But if you prefer high-intensity workouts like cardio, it’s best to do them earlier in the day.

How Soon Before Bed Can You Exercise?

It depends on the type of exercise you do. For high-intensity workouts, it’s best to finish your exercise at least a few hours before bed. Light workouts can be done at any time.

Final Thoughts

It turns out that exercising before bed can be an excellent way to improve your sleep quality. Regular exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, make it easier for you to fall asleep at night, and help you to spend more time in deep sleep. But you have to make sure to choose your workouts well. High-tensity workouts can have the opposite of the desired effect. They can make it harder to fall asleep and harm your sleep quality. If you work out at night, you can easily plan your workouts to make sure they help, not harm, your sleep quality.