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Why insomnia occurs after exercise and how to deal with it


Often, people who are actively involved in sports complain: "After a workout I can not sleep." Why is this happening? After all, usually physical activity contributes to good sleep. However, it also happens that a person after a sports load cannot sleep for a long time or constantly wakes up. Consider the possible causes of such insomnia and ways to deal with it.

Training - stress for the body

Sports training is a kind of stress for the body. All systems and bodies have to work at the limit of their capabilities. Often, athletes are perplexed: "Why not fall asleep after a workout?" After all, subjectively, a person feels very tired after such a strong load.

However, we must not forget that exercise can have a stimulating effect on the body. The endocrine system at the time of loading releases hormones that cause an increase in pulse rate, increased sweating and an increase in body temperature. Training is often not relaxing, but stimulating.

You can often hear from athletes: "I can not sleep after a workout." If a person exercised in the afternoon, then this is a natural phenomenon. Indeed, a few hours before bedtime, the body was subjected to increased stress. As a result, the nervous and endocrine systems continue to operate in a heightened mode and at night.

Consider the most common causes of insomnia after exercise:

  1. Increased cortisol production. This adrenal hormone has a stimulating effect and helps to adapt to physical exertion. Normally, it falls in the evening and at night, but rises in the morning. If a person trains in the evening, then the body has to produce cortisol in increased amounts. Often, athletes say: "I can not sleep after an evening workout." This is due to the fact that the level of cortisol after exercise has not yet had time to fall towards the night.
  2. Increased secretion of adrenaline and norepinephrine. The production of these hormones increases with the load on the muscles. They also have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system, promote vigor and increased activity. It is important to remember that the level of adrenaline drops rapidly, and norepinephrine can be increased even 2 days after exercise. This can cause insomnia.
  3. Increased body temperature. Sometimes you can hear such complaints: "After a workout I can not sleep, and when sleep still comes, I constantly wake up." Frequent spillage may be associated with impaired thermoregulation. Long competition or training leads to an increase in body temperature. And it takes some time for thermoregulation to return to normal.
  4. Dehydration. During physical exertion, perspiration is always increased. Therefore, athletes are advised to be sure to drink water during training. Otherwise, dehydration is formed, which leads to a decrease in melatonin, a sleep hormone.

Next, we consider methods of dealing with insomnia, depending on the cause of its occurrence.

Adaptation of the body

Very often beginner athletes ask: "Why can not I sleep after a workout?" This is due to the fact that the human body has not yet adapted to physical exertion.

Experienced athletes usually fall asleep easily, even after evening workouts. For them, such physical stress is normal. Sleep problems occur when the load becomes unusual. This may be for novice athletes, as well as after a competition or during the first training after a long break.

Usually, such insomnia disappears on its own after a few days. The body adapts to the load, and sleep normalizes.

Excessive physical activity

In sports, there is such a thing as "overtraining". This is a condition where the volume and intensity of training exceed the recovery capacity of the body. As a result, a person does not have time to normalize the level of the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine. One of the signs of this condition is insomnia.

Often, athletes after intensive training for important competitions say: "I can not sleep after a workout." What to do in this case? After all, to reduce physical activity is not always possible.

With "overtraining" it is useful to take a contrast shower before going to bed and drink warm milk with honey. It will calm the body. In the room for sleeping should maintain a cool temperature (about +20 degrees). Before falling asleep, you should try to relax your muscles as much as possible.

Breathing exercises will help you fall asleep quickly. It is necessary to inhale into 4 accounts, and exhale into 8 accounts. During exhalation, you must release the air first from the chest and then from the abdomen. Such breathing exercises will help to normalize the level of cortisol and norepinephrine.

Emotional overexcitement

During training, the person changes the biochemistry of the brain. A large amount of dopamine and endorphins is produced. These compounds are called hormones of joy. They really lead to a rise in mood. However, these substances can cause excessive emotional arousal, which prevents sleep.

In this case, light soothing preparations based on plants can help: valerian, hawthorn, motherwort. You should only avoid taking alcohol-based tinctures. You can not take strong sleeping pills. Such means cause lethargy and drowsiness during the day, and as a result, a person cannot fully train.

Sports nutrition

There are cases when physical exertion is moderate, and the athlete is emotionally calm, but nevertheless he falls asleep with difficulty. The man wonders: "Why can not I sleep after a workout?"

Many people involved in sports use special food. Such products are called pre-training complexes. They usually contain beneficial amino acids and proteins. But they may also contain energy supplements (caffeine and taurine). They cause excitation of the central nervous system. Their excess can lead not only to insomnia, but also to tachycardia and an increase in blood pressure.

In this case, it is useful to take a decoction of chamomile for the night. He relieves several stimulants. If caffeine is part of sports nutrition, then you need to eat well and drink plenty of water. This will reduce the effect of energy.

Some people involved in power sports, take gainers. These are carbohydrate mixtures that provide the body with all the necessary substances for increased physical activity. However, gainers should not be taken at night. Otherwise, the body will spend energy digesting carbohydrates, and it will be very difficult to sleep. If you accidentally took this supplement in the evening, then digestive enzymes can help: "Mezim", "Festal", "Creon". They will help the body to quickly process nutrients.

What causes insomnia

Heavy training or competition - stress for the body. Exercises raise the pulse and body temperature, increase sweating and have a stimulating effect on the nervous and endocrine systems, increase the secretion of cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. The heavier the load, the longer the stimulating effect will last.

Cortisol levels increase

Any exercise increases the level of cortisol, which is called a stress hormone, and there is nothing wrong with it: it increases the body's positive adaptation to the loads. If the load is too heavy, and the level of cortisol does not have time to fall, this can cause insomnia.

In the normal state, the level of cortisol depends on the time of day. It rises in the morning to make you wake up, and reaches its peak about 30 minutes after waking up.

Then the level of cortisol gradually decreases during the day and in the evening, before going to bed, it is very low. But if in the evening you go to the gym and face an unusual load, your cortisol level rises sharply and does not have time to fall to the point where you lie down in bed.

Adrenaline and Norepinephrine Rises

Tense muscular work in training increases the secretion of adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones affect the central nervous system, are responsible for vigor and activity.

After the end of the training, the level of adrenaline drops quite quickly, and norepinephrine remains elevated for a long time. Study Follow-Up Alterations of Catecholamine Hormones after an Intensive Physical Activity. The year 2011 revealed that norepinephrine levels may remain elevated within 48 hours after exercise.

Body temperature rises

Body temperature is subject to circadian rhythms and changes during the day. During sleep, it falls slightly, and by the time it wakes up, it begins to rise.

Study The relationship between insomnia and body temperatures. confirms that some types of insomnia, such as when you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall asleep, are associated with dysregulation of body temperature.

If you have had a long endurance training or competition that lasted 4–5 hours, it may take time for your body temperature to drop again.

Dehydration occurs

If you do not drink enough water during training or during the competition, dehydration may occur. Among other negative effects, dehydration reduces the level of melatonin, a hormone that regulates circadian rhythms and is responsible for sleep.

With a shortage of water, tryptophan - the amino acid from which melatonin is formed - hardly gets into the brain and is also used by the liver as an antioxidant. This reduces the production of melatonin, which can lead to insomnia.

Perform breathing exercises after training.

Respiratory techniques have proven to be effective in dealing with stress. To reduce cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, do the following breathing exercise immediately after exercise:

  • Choose a quiet place, sit on a rug with a straight back or lie on the back.
  • Set the timer for five minutes, relax, close your eyes.
  • Inhale into four bills, first puffing up the belly, and then the chest.
  • Exhale for six accounts, releasing the air first from the chest, and then from the abdomen.

If you are uncomfortable breathing on four and six accounts, choose a convenient rhythm, for example, three and five or six and eight accounts. The main thing is that the exhalation is longer than the inhale.

Watch your breath and try not to go into your thoughts. This is a kind of meditation that will help you to quickly remove the excitement after exercise.

Set a suitable temperature in the bedroom.

Study Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm. showed that exposure to heat from the environment adversely affects the slow phase of sleep.

Therefore, be sure to turn on the air conditioning in the bedroom to fall asleep in a cool room. The temperature in the room should be about 20 degrees.

Get rid of stress

If you come to a hard workout after a busy day, your body receives a double blow, and if the tension does not subside the next day, the stress becomes chronic, which is bad for the body.

Therefore, try to eliminate stress in everyday life, learn to relax and apply breathing practices, meditation, positive thinking.

Just wait until the body adapts.

Despite the increase in cortisol and adrenaline during exercise, many people play sports in the evenings after work and fall asleep without any problems.

Insomnia comes only after unusually heavy loads: competitions, the transition to a new level of classes, the first workout after a long absence. After one or two sessions, your body adapts to new loads, and problems with sleep will disappear.

What is insomnia

Insomnia it is customary to call any sleep disorder - be it too much awakening, falling asleep, or simply dissatisfaction with the quality of sleep. Basically, a person suffering from a sleep disorder cannot sleep for a long time, is turned over, he is disturbed by disturbing thoughts. Insomnia can be permanent, and can only sometimes appear. In the case when this problem is chronic in nature, consultation with a specialist is necessary.

A huge number of people around the world suffer from this disease. You could even say that almost every person on Earth is familiar with insomnia. According to statistics, 30% of the adult population complain of poor sleep. It is worth noting that a sleep disorder for a long time leads to a decrease in performance and memory loss, so you should not pull with this problem.

What is the cause of insomnia in sports

What causes troubled sleep after exercise? Often, insomnia occurs if you have not played sports before and have dramatically undergone heavy loads, but experienced athletes are not insured against it.

  1. Overwork. There are three stages of overwork: overwork (characterized by lethargy and fatigue), overstrain (at the initial stage it is difficult to determine, it is possible only with a medical examination), overtraining (sleep disturbance, coordination of movement, hormonal failure is possible).
  2. The release of a large amount of endorphin and adrenaline, because of what is the excitation of the nervous system.
  3. Muscle tone after exercise.
  4. Unspent energy. This happens if you have been hard at work for a long time and for some reason have reduced the load.
  5. Exercise less than 4 hours before bedtime.
  6. Late dinner after class.

What to do if after insomnia there is insomnia

What to do if you are constantly tormented by insomnia after exercise?

  1. First of all, try not to overwork: you don’t need to practice until you lose your pulse, because it’s very harmful. After such an intense workout, your body will not be able to relax for a long time. Remember that not only the body suffers from overwork, but also the nervous system!
  2. Before you start training, do not forget to do a little warm-up. During class, try to evenly distribute the load on all muscle groups. At the end of the workout, always try to remove the muscles from the state of tonus, with a little stretching, if the feeling of tension in the muscles remains - you need to take a hot bath to expand the vessels (thus lactic acid is removed more quickly).
  3. Do not reduce the load too dramatically.
  4. Do not exercise late in the evening. After 7 pm, our body smoothly begins to prepare for sleep, exercise less than 4 hours before sleep can cause a sharp surge of emotions, which will cause biorhythms to fail, which is why sleep can be broken. So try to finish the workout 4-5 hours before the end.
  5. After a workout, try to have dinner no later than 2 hours before bedtime. Do not eat at night is too high-calorie and heavy food.

How to prevent insomnia in bodybuilding

With this kind of sport, a qualitatively compiled regime is necessary, the slightest deviation from which can lead to insomnia. But after all, sleep is very important for the bodybuilder, because during it the final stage of growth of muscle mass occurs. In a dream, 90% of growth hormone is produced.

The athlete must carefully monitor their nervous system, avoid stress and anxiety, which is not always possible. The bodybuilder’s nervous system is experiencing particular stress before a race. And the closer the important day, the stronger the excitement. At such times, you need to try to control yourself and not let stress take control of you, otherwise you will not avoid insomnia.

If you still have a problem with sleep, you can resort to natural sleeping pills, such as: melatonin, kava-kava, valerian, L-theanine, etc.

Also, the athlete must adhere to the program of nutrition, because low-carbohydrate foods can also cause poor sleep. After training you need to enrich the body with proteins and carbohydrates.


To prevent insomnia, you must eliminate the use of alcohol, cigarettes, coffee and energy drinks. As a supplement to the above rules, it will be useful to take a walk in the fresh air after a workout.

Read your favorite book before bedtime, instead of watching TV. Take a warm bath and drink tea with honey or mint. Immediately before going to bed, ventilate the room, eliminate all other sounds, so that nothing will disturb you.

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Why it happens?

Insomnia and the truth brings a lot of inconvenience - constant turning over in bed, a huge number of thoughts, anxiety. Its reasons may be different, and here are the main ones:

  1. Overwork. It can happen if you just started and chose the wrong load. Или же вынуждены были взять перерыв, и возобновили тренировки, но забыли о постепенности возрастания нагрузок. Нужно быть очень осторожным, ведь особо сложные стадии переутомления провоцируют не только проблемы со сном, а и гормональные сбои.
  2. Чрезмерное выделение эндорфина и адреналина. Этому способствует слишком активная и длительная работа мышц. These hormones are responsible for vigor and activity, and their elevated levels in the blood just do not allow to quietly retire to the realm of Morpheus.
  3. Muscle tone What kind of sport you would not choose, warm-up before exercise and stretching after it should be mandatory. This helps the muscles to go to rest. Otherwise, the tone - muscle tension, persist, and you will not feel too comfortable.
  4. Unspent energy. It also happens that insomnia after a workout occurs in the case when the energy intended for loads during workouts is not fully spent. This happens especially often in cases where a person has been engaged for a long time, and then for some reason has dramatically reduced the load.
  5. Wrong mode. Active strength training should take place at least 4 hours before sleep, lighter possible 3 hours. Dinner should not be late and too dense. If you do not adhere to these rules, you may have problems that are associated with them.

How to deal with it?

To minimize the negative effects of sports in the form of problems with sleep, it is enough to follow simple recommendations. What to do?

  1. Choose the correct mode. Try to move the evening workout early, so that the body can rebuild after active loads in a calm, ordinary way.
  2. Do not eat before classes. This is one of the main rules. Physical activity on a full stomach can lead not only to problems with sleep, but also to the digestive system.
  3. Do not wear for wear. Such sacrifices will definitely not be beneficial. And even worse - will pull a series of health problems. Stick to selected loads. After them you should feel a little tired, but not fall from your feet.
  4. Master the breathing practices. Training - stress for the body, and to help it easier to survive, you can use breathing exercises. They will help find an emotional balance and relax the body.
  5. Walking The simplest "folk remedy" for insomnia is a walk in the fresh air. Coming out of the hall, do not run home immediately, take a walk in the nearest park or just walk down the street. This will help your biological clock tune in to rest.

Now, even if you run into the fact that after training you can't sleep, you know how to get rid of this problem. And do not forget about proper nutrition and water balance. Be healthy and beautiful!

Causes of Insomnia

Competition or hard training is a stress for the whole body. The exercises performed raise the temperature of the body and increase the pulse rate, increasing the stimulated effect and sweating. As a result, the secretion of cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenaline increases. The harder the workout, the longer the stimulating effect will last.

1. Strengthening the secretion of cortisol

It is a stress hormone that increases as a result of any workout, it is the body’s defensive response that allows the body to adapt to stress. If the complexity of the workout rolls over, the level of cortisol does not have time to decrease and at the time of sleep comes insomnia.

In the absence of loads, the concentration of cortisol depends on the time of day. A sharp increase in it occurs in the morning when you wake up, it helps to wake up reaching a maximum concentration 30-40 minutes after waking up. That is why it is recommended to drink BCAAs to maintain muscle mass in the morning.

Later in the day, cortisol is reduced and at bedtime it is at a minimum. If training occurs in the evening the concentration of cortisol increases dramatically and does not have time to fall to sleep, which can cause insomnia.

Causes of poor sleep after exercise

Before you figure out why after a workout a bad dream, you need to understand why it can occur. After all, the state is really not the best. Poor sleep can be caused by increased nervous irritability, which interferes with normal sleep. But not always bad sleep after exercise is insomnia. Maybe your body is so tired after training that you just decided to go to bed too early. But the body is just tired, but still does not want to sleep.

If we talk about sports, then insomnia after exercise is the result of "fit" the body to increased stress. Forcing the body to work at the limit, you accelerated the metabolism, increased blood circulation, accelerated the heart muscle. But the training is over, and the body continues to work in an enhanced mode. Of course, in this state, he will not want to sleep for a long time.

Conventionally, all the causes of poor sleep after training can be divided into three groups:

Cortisol increase

Cortisol, or the stress hormone, rises with any workout. And this is not bad: there is an adaptation of the body to stress. The cause of insomnia, however, can be a situation when the training was so heavy that the level of cortisol did not have time to fall after it. Usually, before going to bed, the level of the hormone is low, but if the body had to face an unusual evening workout, then cortisol will not have time to fall to sleep.

Adrenaline and Norepinephrine Rises

During intense training, hormones that affect the central nervous system, activity and vigor also increase. And if adrenaline after a workout drops quickly, until norepinephrine remains elevated for a long time, disrupting evening sleep.

How to get rid of bad sleep / insomnia?

To fight insomnia, you need to know what caused it. For repeated bad sleep, it is recommended to consult a specialist, and for one-time insomnia following training, the following tips will help:

  1. Bring back to normal day regimen. Normal production of melatonin will occur when you train your body to lie down and get up at the same time. The body itself to prepare for sleep at the right time.
  2. Keep a training diary. As a rule, the body receives stress during atypical or very intense exercises. Leave these items in the morning, and in the evening try to engage in the usual way. To achieve this will help a special diary, which will not unduly overdo it.
  3. Refusal of sleeping pills. If once this method helps, then the next will only get worse. And dependence on any medication is bad by itself. It is better to calm down with the help of sedatives.

Breathing technique

To reduce the level of all the above hormones will help the following breathing practice:

  • we sit down on a rug with a straight back or lie on it,
  • five minutes are in complete relaxation
  • while breathing on the four accounts, puffing up the stomach, and then chest,
  • exhale on six accounts, starting with the chest and moving to the stomach.

You can independently develop your breathing pattern, as long as the inhale is shorter than the exhale.

A couple of words at the end

Finally, some more general tips. Chronic stress adversely affects the body. Try to completely remove it from your life. Let the body receive stress only after intensive training - it will be more beneficial.

Nobody has canceled the usual adaptation. Sooner or later, the body adapts to changing conditions and falls back to sleep well.

And most importantly - try not to train right before bedtime. Optimally, this time is six hours before sleep - so the body will have time to return to its normal state.