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Does evening sports training have a negative effect?

Does evening sports training have a negative effect?


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Does nighttime exercise affect our sleep?

Most people will certainly do their sporting activities during the day. However, there are exceptions, some people do sports in the evening or even late at night. Researchers are now investigating how late exercise affects our sleep.

In their current study, the scientists from ETH Zurich found that sport in the late evening can have negative effects on sleep under certain circumstances. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Sports Medicine".

Why do people only do sports late at night?

If you enjoy doing exercise in the evening or even late at night, this could jeopardize your night's sleep. Some people cannot exercise during the day for various reasons, such as lack of time during the day or shift work. For such people, night workouts are often the only way to get some exercise at all. Exercising at such a late hour, however, could potentially cause problems and negatively affect your night's sleep.

The data from 275 subjects were analyzed

For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the results of 23 previous studies that examined the effects of a single sporting training session in the evening on sleep. 275 subjects participated in these studies. In all studies, with one exception, the subjects consisted of healthy athletes with normal healthy sleep patterns. Running and cycling were the most popular forms of exercise for these participants, which were carried out for an average of 87 minutes.

What results did the researchers find?

The subjects finished their sporting activity on average 1.8 hours before going to bed. Some participants managed to fall asleep as early as twelve minutes after their athletic training. The results of the investigation indicated that late night training did not cause sleep problems. So if you do your sporting activity in the gym at night, this does not automatically lead to disturbances of the night's rest. However, there are also some indications that hard physical training can increase the time it takes to fall asleep.

In general, evening sports do not negatively affect sleep

Overall, the studies evaluated do not support the hypothesis that evening training negatively affects sleep. On the contrary, according to the researchers, the opposite was the case (even though the effects were only minor), with one possible exception: sleep activity, sleep efficiency and the overall sleep time can be impaired if physical exercise is carried out shortly before bedtime, the researchers say.

More research is needed

Despite the results, the scientists still need to do more research to determine the ideal time between training and going to bed. Otherwise, intensive sporting activities could lead to people taking a long time to fall asleep. (as)

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