Abs Before Bed: Good or Bad Idea?

Fitness Man Doing Sit Ups Working Out His Abs

Due to the fast-paced lifestyle that we tend to subscribe to, it is no surprise that most people find it hard to get up in the morning to catch up on much-needed exercise. There is also not a lot of time in the day to catch up on working out. Would you rather spend your lunch hour hitting the gym and rolling in sweat, instead of enjoying a good meal before you hit the desk again? Although “coffee break” gets thrown around a lot during office hours, it’s very rarely you hear people clamoring for a “gym break.” For most people, personal time falls somewhere between 6 pm (or a little bit later if you’re the kind of person who puts in long hours at work) to 10 pm. Not an ideal time for a workout, isn’t it?

However, despite endless rumors that working out late at night can either destroy your immune system or affect your sleeping patterns, it doesn’t. Is it good to do abs before bed?

Sleep hygiene recommendations suggest that you should not engage in intensive workouts three hours before sleep. However, this recommendation has not been sufficiently tested. Vigorous late-night exercise does not disturb sleep quality, but it may affect heart rate in the first sleeping hours.

It is, therefore, good to work on your abs before going to bed. A study done by the European Sleep Research Society suggests that working out late at night does not affect sleep, but intensive exercise my affect heart rate. If you’re prone to heart conditions, you may want to have your last workout of the day be at least three hours before going to bed.

Regular physical activity, either during the day or at night, promotes better health and sleep. That’s two more reasons (aside from the fact that you get sculpted abs in the process) to hit the gym before hitting your bed at night.

Take a look at these three popular Amazon products that are excellent for those who like to work out their abs before bed.

Perfect Fitness Roller for Core Workouts
(view on Amazon)
Core Max Smart Abs and Total Body Workout
(view on Amazon)
Antmona Abs Stimulator Belt
(view on Amazon)
Perfect Fitness’ ultra-wide ab roller comes with a carbon steel spring for added resistance to increase your workout. It also includes foam kneepads for extra comfort. The Core Max combines eight muscle-burning exercises for 8 minutes a day. Customize your routine with different resistance levels. Antmona Abs Stimulator Belt is great for losing fat and working out from home. Use the device twice a day for 15 minutes and see results in 3 months.

How Does Exercise Affect Sleep?

Strong Sportswoman in Plank Position Working Out Abs

Although the myth that exercise negatively affects sleep is proven to be false, you may want to ask yourself where people got the idea. After all, all rumors have roots.

Initially, people believed that engaging in exercise increases the adrenaline within the body, thereby creating more energy and wakefulness. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Working out your abs before bedtime actually causes the body to produce chemicals and hormones that promote sleep. Here are some ways that a late-night workout is good for catching more Z’s:

1. The Hotter It Is, The Sleepier You Are

Regular physical activity tends to raise the body’s core temperature, which sends a signal to the brain to produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone naturally found within the body. The element is used to establish a sleep-wake cycle and adjust your internal body clock. Hence, an increase in this hormone, combined with high levels of body temperature, can make you feel drowsy and engage in a deeper level of sleep.

2. Burn Calories Instead of the Midnight Oil

Since exercise helps the body burn calories, the process requires our body to produce “energy” by burning sugar and transforming it into enzymes that keep us going. A by-product of this process is the hormone called adenosine. Adenosine is the hormone responsible for inhibiting the brain’s neurons, causing us to feel drowsy and thereby facilitate sleep. It just goes to show that spending energy in exercise equals our body naturally responding to sleep.

3. Less Stress, More Time on the Mattress.

However, it is essential to note that exercise not only helps us respond to sleep quicker but also promotes better sleep. When we exert ourselves in physical activity, strenuous or otherwise, our heart rate increases, and our body interprets it as an elevated stress level. This process prompts the brain to release another hormone – Endorphins.

The endorphin, popularly branded as one of the “happy hormones,” significantly reduces the feelings of anxiety and depression. Since the hormone production is basically due to the need to balance the stress within the body, it provides us with relief and comfort. Thus, a relieved and de-stressed body equals a more profound quality sleep minus the tossing and turning.

How Can Sleep Aid in Muscle Building?

Man With Abs Wearing Black Shorts Looking at Water

Just like how exercise leads to better sleep, it turns out that sleep helps you get closer to that perfectly sculpted six-pack you desire.

Our bodies are prone to wear and tear after a hard day’s work, and at the end of the day, sleep is what enables it to repair itself. As we sleep, our body produces the needed proteins to repair muscle cells and help them grow. Thankfully, the human body does that naturally through protein synthesis. Here are some ways that sleep help us work out our abs:

1. Sleep Is The Key to Your Best Shape

Getting a good night’s rest (or day, if you’re the nocturnal type) before exerting yourself into any strenuous activity is essential. Not only will you have increased alertness but also exhibit better performance in the gym if you complete at least 6 hours of sleep. Working out without getting the right amount of sleep can not only wear you out faster but can also lead to possible injuries due to the delayed reaction time and overfatigued muscles. To whip yourself into the shape you want, you have to make sure that you’re in your best shape for a workout.

2. Energy Equals Sexy

As we sleep, our bodies actively burn sugar and calories to store energy for the day to come. Without enough sleep, our bodies tend to have difficulty metabolizing glucose and may take longer in breaking down sugar for energy. Without energy, we wouldn’t have enough stamina or endurance to make it through a power workout that may be the key to finally getting some gains.

3. Being Sleepy Means Being Hungry

Another surprising effect of having enough sleep is that it can help curb our hunger. When we sleep, our body produces hormones that inhibit our appetite so that we don’t have to get up in the middle of the night looking for food. It’s one of the adaptive qualities of human beings that, as we sleep, our bodies automatically set itself up into hibernation mode.

If we don’t get enough rest, necessary hormones wouldn’t be produced, leading us to cheat more on our diet. If we skipped out on the prescribed amount of sleep, our body would increase the hormone, Ghrelin. Ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone,” is responsible for boosting the appetite, increasing food intake, and stimulates the storage of fats.

Leptin is another “hunger hormone” affected by sleep. Leptin is the hormone responsible for regulating energy supply within our body by signaling the brain when we need food or inhibits our hunger when our energy supplies are enough. A low level of leptin means that we have enough energy to spend and therefore feel full and satisfied. On the other hand, a high level of leptin suggests that we need energy, so we turn to food to fill that void.

How Can You Get Sleep After a Workout?

Close up of Man Sleeping on His Side

Although it was found that exercise does not affect sleep, you might find yourself still tossing and turning under the sheets after a healthy workout. It’s normal. Different bodies react differently to physical stimulation and rest. Some people take longer to cool down after a workout and find it hard to fall asleep. If you find that you are one of these people, here are some tips to help you catch some sleep after working out your abs:

1. Take A Warm Shower

During exercise, the increase in heart rate and body temperature causes wakefulness. However, the drop in body temperature after a workout facilitates sleepiness. Thus, to catch up on sleep, you need to reduce your body temperature naturally. Although having a cold shower may sound like the fastest way to do that, the shock from the instantaneous temperature change causes blood to circulate faster, waking you up in the process. Hot showers effectively relieve muscle tension from the workout and soothe the body from fatigue. Also, the gradual decrease in temperature stabilizes the body temperature at a perfect level for sleep.

2. Skip the Sugary Caffeinated Drinks

Sugary treats and caffeinated drinks inject the body with a lot of energy and induce wakefulness. Both of which exercise already provides. By skipping these before and after a workout, you not only save yourself time in falling asleep but money as well.

3. Hydrate Before and After a Workout

Drinking water is the fastest way to regulate your body temperature, supply oxygen to your brain, and stabilize your heartbeat. Dehydration makes it difficult to cool down since it tends to increase your body temperature as you release heat through sweat. It is essential to replenish the water in your body by hydrating before and after a workout.

4. Set Yourself Up for a Cool and Dark Slumber

As mentioned above, sleep comes more natural when we have a low body temperature and a dark room to stimulate the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for our body clock. Hence, to sleep faster after an exercise, ensure that the room is cool and dark.

The Bottomline – Abs Before Bed: Good or Bad Idea?

With that, it is good to work out your abs before bed. Regular physical activity increases your chances of getting a longer and deeper sleep. Sleeping can help you gain those abs faster than you were hoping for by aiding muscle recovery and growth. There is nothing wrong with working out before your bedtime. After all, exercise can be done at any time of the day; it just depends on how your body reacts to it. If you stay consistent, then surely, your body will get used to it, and you will get results.

Kris Peter

I am a lifelong advocate of sleep, continually learning, and striving to be better than I was yesterday.

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