Why Do I Struggle To Sleep After Exercise?

Are you tossing and turning in bed, unable to find a comfortable position – does that sound familiar?

Don't worry if you've recently been exercising but still haven't worked out how to get enough sleep afterward. You're not alone!

Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, so it's essential to understand why you struggle to get restful sleep following your workouts. a woman struggling to sleep

In this article, we'll take a closer look at why you might have trouble sleeping after exercise and provide tips for improving your sleep.

So grab a warm cup of tea and dive in; the answer could be just what you need for better quality shut-eye tonight!


Hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone can disrupt sleep, making it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. For example, testosterone levels increase during the day and decrease at night, which can make it difficult for people with high testosterone levels to relax before bed.

Estrogen levels also fluctuate throughout the month and can cause trouble sleeping when they drop too low or become imbalanced. Progesterone levels can drop too low in premenopausal women, making it difficult for them to enter restful sleep. 

Hormonal imbalances can also cause other symptoms like fatigue, mood swings, and irritability that may further disrupt your ability to get a good night's sleep. Fortunately, there are ways to address these issues.

To help, your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy to help restore balance. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as limiting caffeine and alcohol before bed, exercising regularly, and avoiding screens can also help improve your sleep.

Related: The Importance of Sleep to Your Fitness Regime


The stress hormone cortisol is produced by the HPA axis and is released into your body when it's time to wake up. This hormone can cause a range of sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, disrupted sleep cycles, and waking up tired.

Cortisol also increases alertness and suppresses melatonin, the hormone responsible for helping you fall asleep.

Try to reduce stress before bedtime to combat cortisol's effects on sleep. Take a warm bath or shower, read a calming book, listen to relaxation music or practice yoga.

Exercising during the day can help reduce cortisol levels in the body so that you can sleep better at night.

By taking these steps and understanding the role cortisol plays in your sleep, you can be well on your way to a good night's rest.

Norepinephrine and Adrenaline

When your body is flooded with hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline, it can be difficult to drift into a peaceful slumber.

These hormones increase heart rate and blood pressure and keep you on high alert - not ideal for relaxation!

To ensure that your system has the opportunity to rest and recharge after an intense day or surge in energy levels, consider creating a soothing pre-bedtime routine complete with some stress-reducing techniques.

Taking deep breaths, reading calming books, or meditating can help your body relax and release the hormones it needs to get you to sleep.

Additionally, avoiding caffeine, sugar, and other stimulants before bed can make getting some much-needed shut-eye easier.

With a few simple changes, you can ensure your body has the rest it needs to stay healthy and energised! 


Stress is one of the major culprits when it comes to difficulty falling asleep. Stressful thoughts, worries, and anxieties can fill your mind with racing thoughts that keep you up at night.

Stress can also lead to physical symptoms such as body tension or headaches, making sleep even more elusive.

To combat stress-induced sleeplessness, it's essential to focus on calming activities and relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or deep breathing. It is also important to focus on positive affirmations to shift your mindset away from stress and worry.

Practicing these calming activities for even a few minutes before bed can help you relax into a deeper sleep.

Additionally, exercising during the day can be beneficial for reducing stress levels and promoting better sleep quality in the evening.

Stick to consistent sleep and wake times throughout the week to keep your body's circadian rhythm on track.

With a few simple steps, you can start getting more restful sleep and reduce your stress levels for improved overall well-being. 


Stimulants, like caffeine, nicotine, or certain medications, quicken our body and mind as we go about our day. As helpful as these stimulants may be in providing an energy boost during the day, they can interfere with sleep if taken too late at night or just before bedtime.

Nevertheless, stimulants are not only found in beverages or cigarettes; many prescription drugs include them, along with some over-the-counter medicines and energy supplements!

If you're having trouble sleeping at night, you must consider what substances containing stimulants you've been using throughout the day.

Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimuli can have a long-lasting effect on the body and make it more difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. It's recommended that you avoid all stimulants at least six hours before bedtime to ensure a good night's rest.

Additionally, keeping track of your caffeine intake throughout the day and ensuring you're consuming only what is recommended is essential. By avoiding stimulants in the late evening and tracking your intake, you may find it easier to get a good night's rest.

Dehydration and body temperature

Dehydration may create barriers to sleep, as well as raise body temperature. When your body is low on fluids, it can't cool itself down through sweat or other means.

This causes your internal temperature to rise, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Dehydration also affects the hormones in your brain that help with sleep. Lack of hydration can reduce the amount of serotonin and melatonin, hormones that regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

If you're struggling to fall asleep, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least eight glasses daily to ensure your body remains hydrated.

Consider taking a warm shower or bath just before hitting the sack, as this will help lower your internal temperature and make it easier for you to drift off. Lastly, stick to a consistent bedtime routine, so your body is trained to expect sleep at the same time every day.

In Summary

Sleep difficulties after exercise may be due to several factors, including stress, stimulants, and dehydration.

To combat stress-induced sleeplessness, it's essential to focus on calming activities such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or deep breathing before bedtime.

Exercise during the day can also help reduce stress levels and promote better sleep quality in the evening.

Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and some medications should be avoided at least six hours before bed to ensure restful sleep.

Finally, proper hydration and a consistent bedtime routine can help lower body temperature and get your hormones on track for better sleep quality.

With these tips, you can start getting more restful sleep and reduce your stress levels for improved overall well-being. 

What have you found to work best in helping you get a good night's sleep? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

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