Exercising Before Bed and Getting the Sleep You Need

Available for Interviews: Dr. Mimi Secor

Dr. Mimi Secor DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner specializing in Women’s Health for over 40 years. She is a sought-after national speaker and consultant has been featured in numerous local and national media outlets. Dr. Mimi is also a fitness and health advocate, and is passionate about helping women to lose weight and feel great, and is the author of the newest book,  Healthy & Fit at Any Age: A Guide to Creating Mindset, Nutrition, and Exercise Habits for Busy Women.

What Dr. Mimi Secor could say in an interview on
Exercise & Sleep:

    • A recent 2019 systematic study examined the effects of evening exercise on sleep in healthy participants.*
    • This study highlights surprising conclusions!
    • They concluded that evening exercise did not negatively affect sleep.
    • In fact, they found the opposite, that it can enhance sleep.
    • However, sleep onset may be impaired after vigorous exercise ending within 1 hour or less before bedtime.
    • These findings fly in the face of the long-standing concept that vigorous exercise in the evening interferes with sleep onset.

Why You Shouldn’t Do
Strenuous Exercise Before Bed

    • Some people are unable to get to sleep if they exercise at night, especially close to bedtime.
    • Generally, it is recommended to avoid exercise a minimum of 60 minutes before bedtime.
    • Strenuous exercise is even more likely to disturb sleep by revving us up. Several hours before bedtime it is generally best to minimize major exercise. 
    • Instead, if exercise is desired, try stretching instead of doing cardio (walking, running, cycling).

Possible consequences of
Exercising Before Bed

    • Sleep disturbances
    • Strenuous exercise raises the heart rate and body temperature, and these effects can result in increased alertness. 
    • It can take several hours to unwind, become drowsy, and be ready to sleep.

How long before bed
You should Not Exercise

    • Though this is an individual preference, several hours before desired sleep time is a good rule of thumb.
    • For example, personally, when traveling I frequently exercise at night before bedtime but always stop exercising at least an hour before I desire to fall asleep.
    • Some people need many hours after moderate to vigorous exercise to wind down and prepare for sleep.

What Constitutes Strenuous Exercise

    • “Strenuous exercise is scientifically defined as any activity that expends 7 metabolic equivalents (METS) per minute or more, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. “
    • “In relative terms, this is the equivalent of an energy expenditure of 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, with one representing the energy expended while sitting quietly, and 10 representing maximum effort.” (NOTE: I like this definition because it’s easy for people to understand and apply to their own exercise).
    • “An easy way to determine exercise intensity is as a percentage of one’s maximum heart rate, defined as the target heart rate. According to the American Heart Association, a person’s maximum heart rate is roughly 220 minus his age. His target heart rate for physical activity is between 50 percent (moderate intensity) and 85 percent (high-intensity). In other words, a 40-year-old man has a maximum heart rate of 180. Thus, his target heart rate is about 90 for moderate-intensity exercise, and for vigorous exercise, it is about 153. These guidelines vary according to each individual’s level of fitness and overall health.”**

Exercises That Are Okay Before Bed

    • Stretching, possibly gentle yoga, slow walking, or cycling on a stationary bike. 
    • Low-intensity is less likely to adversely impact your sleep. Generally, if you can carry on a conversation while exercising this is low-intensity exercise.

Exercises That Could Help You Sleep

    • Gentle stretching can be relaxing and help you prepare for sleep.
    • Sexual activity can promote relaxation and sleep. Intimacy produces oxytocin, a hormone that has a relaxing effect on our body. Also, orgasm often produces drowsiness that can enhance sleep.


Interview: Dr. Mimi Secor

Dr. Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, is a Nurse Practitioner, Educator, Health/Fitness Advocate. She is also a popular National Speaker and Consultant, educating advanced practice clinicians and consumers around the country and the world. She is the author of the #1 International bestselling book, Debut a New You: Transforming Your Life at Any Age, and the newest title: Healthy & Fit at Any Age: A Guide to Creating Mindset, Nutrition, and Exercise Habits for Busy Women.

Healthy & Fit at Any Age: A guide to creating mindset, nutrition, and exercise habits for busy women! by [Dr. Mimi Secor]

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.


*Stutz, J., Eiholzer, R., & Spengler, C. M. (2019). Effects of Evening Exercise on Sleep in Healthy Participants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 49(2), 269–287. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-1015-0


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