Are At Home Workouts Ruining Your Sleep?

So many of us are being forced to workout at home during the Covid-19 quarantine – here’s how your sleep may be affected…

It’s more important than ever to continue getting your exercise. While we’re stuck at home, it’s a lot easier to skip out on working out – many of us can work in our underpants laying on the couch, with Netflix at the ready, and the fridge tempting us each time we walk by. But if we skip out on our exercise during this quarantine, our health will slip in the wrong direction.

So number one, make sure you continue to get your movement in. It doesn’t have to be a bone-crushing weight training session. Just. Move. Your. Body.

Use that time you usually spend commuting to work to take a morning walk. There are thousands of free yoga classes and at-home workout routines on YouTube. Get a group of friends together (over video chat) and workout together.

No equipment needed. If you have a floor, you have a gym.

BUT, if you’re doing your exercise in your bedroom, here’s what you must know:

Our brains are very good at making associations with places.

That association is determined by what you habitually do in that room. In this case, your bedroom. Ideally, the only things we do in our bedroom are relaxing. Sleep, obviously, and things like reading, spending time with your partner, journaling & meditating. This way, when you walk into your bedroom, your brain knows what to do: relax.

The reality is many of us do stimulating activities in our bedrooms like watch shows, work on our computers, eat, and now, exercise.

These, especially exercise, can hurt our sleep.

Exercise, unless it’s low intensity like light stretching or yoga, is the exact opposite stimulus our brain and body are used to when we come into our bedroom. Exercise drives up our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and increases our heart rate and breathing. It is a stimulus we don’t want our brain to associate with our place of rest.

Exercising in your bedroom once in a while likely won’t have any negative effects on your sleep, but repeatedly doing so might. Your brain may start to get confused. Usually you come into the bedroom to get ready for bed, relax, and sleep. Your brain knows that, and up until now, that’s the only thing you’ve done in your bedroom. But now, you’re walking in to get your sweat on. Your brain may start associating your bedroom with exercise.

So when you walk into your room and lie in bed, your body may start to feel aroused and anxious, because it is anticipating the exercise based on your new behavior.

So, here’s the deal.

If you’ve started working out in your bedroom and you’re sleeping great – don’t worry! Keep doing your thing.

However, if you’ve started your bedroom workouts and noticed that it’s getting harder for you to fall asleep at night, then it may be time to change up where you train.

Exercise in the living room. Bathroom. Kitchen. Exercise outside, in the sun. Go barefoot in the grass if you can. A man in France ran a marathon on his porch – you have no excuses!

So remember: everybody is different. This may affect some of you and others won’t notice any change. This is only meant to help you to build an awareness around what you do in your bedroom and how that may be affecting your sleep.

Keep exercising and sleep well!