Late night runners can rest easy – study of effects on sleep patterns of nighttime exercise

Late night runners can rest easy – study of effects on sleep patterns of nighttime exercise – Brief Article

How many dines have you heard that late night exercise impairs normal sleep patterns? Well this may not be correct. In fact, some people even feel that exercise late at night improves their sleep. In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers examined the effects of prolonged, vigorous late-night exercise on sleep.

Sixteen highly fit cyclists were studied over three nights and two days. Night one was the baseline. Night two, the subjects either cycled under bright light for three hours at 65% to 75% of their maximum, or were exposed to bright light while relaxing. Night three was a recovery night. Protocols were separated by two to tour weeks.

Although this is only one study with a small number of subjects, and is certainly not the bottom line on sleep and late night exercise, these results confirm what many runners already know for themselves: whether you run the streets after dark or run the treadmills In the bright lights of the gym, many of us find exercising at night helps overcome the stress of the day and sleep is actually improved.

For lots of folks the only time available to exercise is late in the evening. If that’s true for your schedule, but you avoid nighttime exercise because of the traditional warning-it may be worth reconsidering. Give nighttime workouts a try without worrying about sleep. You might even find your sleep is more restful.

(Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1999, Vol. 31, No. 6, pp. 864-869)

COPYRIGHT 1999 American Running & Fitness Association

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