Weight training can affect sleep in a variety of ways. Too much training causes disturbances in night-time patterns and may have you struggling to go to sleep. Too little training may leave you with an excessive amount of energy, also making it difficult to go to sleep. The right amount of exercise may cause you to need more sleep, or naps, which can also affect your nightly patterns.
A way to promote an easier time falling asleep is to exercise two or more hours prior to sleep to allow time for your metabolism to slow down after weight training.
Avoid overtraining, which interrupts your sleep patterns. Be wary of overtraining, such as exercise every day of the week, performing too many exercises in session, lifting too heavy of weights, using a high number of sets and repetitions and avoiding recovery days. Keep your weight training days to three or four a week, with eight to 10 exercises a session, using a weight that is difficult for the final two repetitions of each of your one to three sets and plan two to three days of rest each week.
Use relaxation techniques before bedtime to promote quality sleep. Visualize a peaceful place as you breathe deep and concentrate on relaxing one muscle at a time.
Perform progressive relaxation of each muscle group. Start by clenching and relaxing your toes, calves, thighs, glutes, abs, chest, back, arms, shoulders and face. Tense each group for five seconds and relax for 30 seconds before moving on to the next muscle.
Use visualization techniques to calm your mind and body prior to sleep. Sit or lie in a quiet place. Imagine your favorite place, such as a beach or a mountain top. Think of the sights, smells, feel and sounds of the place as you relax and slip into sleep.
Take naps between 20 and 30 minutes if you find you need more rest throughout the day, so that you do not sleep too long and affect your ability to go to sleep at night.
Tips & Warnings
- If insomnia is a lasting problem, speak with your doctor.
- Sleep Well, Live Better: 3 Steps to Good Sleep; Dr. Helen Wright and Professor Leon Lack
- Weight Training for Dummies; Liz Neporent, Suzanne Schlosberg and Shirley J. Archer
- Weight Training for Strength and Fitness; L. Jay Silvester
- Photo Credit Tom Le Goff/Digital Vision/Getty Images