Is it okay to sleep after a workout?

by Ace Ryder


Sleep is good for the body. There is no doubt about that. Even when you are stressed out by daily activities and all, a good night’s rest can help restore your strength and keep you refreshed.


While sleep is good, sleeping right is better – just like everything else that must be done right to enjoy healthy living; from feeding to exercising and all.


Now, sleeping after workout sessions can be good for recovery but if not done right might expose you to some health displeasure. Hence, this article contains all you need to know about the pros and cons of napping after a workout and the right way to go about it.


If it’s normal to sleep after work out sessions


Is it okay to sleep after a workout?

Of course, it is normal to sleep after exercising your body. This is because you might have used up a lot of energy while engaging in exercise, hence, the need to sleep to recover. Sincerely, it is not a cause for concern at all. You could get tired after engaging in rigorous exercises. Then, it’s likely that you’d want to sleep.  Nevertheless, milder exercises such as taking a light walk along the path might not predispose you to feel sleepy unlike some other strenuous forms of exercises like weight lifting.


Why it happens to you


Largely, napping after workouts is determined by so many factors and it is also peculiar to each individual. We are all different, as such, what determines one’s energy level after a workout session varies from person to person. These could include:


  • Your fitness level
  • Your medical condition
  • Your level of hydration
  • The duration, intensity, type, and frequency of workout
  • Type of diet and so on


Aside from all these, it’s bound to happen naturally, but the intensity or level of tiredness is determined by the factor highlighted above.


After every workout session, your body is bound to react. This is because while you carry out the different acts of exercise, your muscles contract. In contracting, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is a molecule that produces energy to your body cells is used up by the muscle. As you increase the workout, this molecule decreases, hence, resulting in muscle fatigue after you reach the saturation level. This happened because as ATP decreases, your muscle loses the vibe it needs to continue to function.


Your central nervous system is also not left out in the process as it sends signals to the brain to activate the muscle power needed for the exercise. However, the longer you engage in the workout, the activation of muscle power by your central nervous system decreases.


man stretching waking up from good night sleep

Furthermore, when you exercise, neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine are fired up. Increased capacity of these hormones affects the ability of the central nervous system to power the muscles, hence, leading to central fatigue. Ultimately, this is what drives you to want to take a nap immediately after a workout.


These are the reasons why it’s good to nap after exercise:


  • Reduced physical fatigue


Strenuous exercises can result in body fatigue which could further hinder your productivity for the rest of the day. Since sleep aids muscle recovery, fatigue is thence eliminated. So, you could get powered up for the day’s activities by taking a brief nap after exercising.


  • Muscle recovery


Sleeping after exercise can help your muscles recover. The pituitary gland becomes active in the production of growth hormones during sleep. These hormones are required for muscle growth and all repair of worn-out tissues.


  • Heightened mental alertness


Napping boosts your cognitive abilities. By eliminating fatigue, you are up and running once again.


  • Prevents sleep deprivation


Also, when the muscles are not repaired, your immune system could become weakened. This can affect your athletic performance in the long run.


On the flip side, the following are the disadvantages of not sleeping right after a strenuous workout session:


  • Sleep inertia


When you sleep after exercise, you are predisposed to experiencing sleep inertia which is a state of grogginess as a result of intense sleep. You could fall into a deep sleep and this is not good for you as it might result in sleep inertia


  • Poor sleep quality


After exercises, your muscles are usually worn out. Also, you might not be able to sleep well because of increased body temperature.


  • Disrupted nighttime sleep


You might not be able to sleep well at the night after engaging in post-exercise napping.


Tips on How to do It right


  • Nap when your energy level is reducing and don’t nap for so long (20-30 minutes max)
  • Rehydrate your body after exercise
  • Stretch yourself
  • Reduce noise
  • Darken room


However, if you notice any abnormality in your sleeping habit; for instance, if you feel very sleepy after every workout session or you find it difficult to wake up from short naps, it’s time you talked to your doctor.

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