Its obvious, not all of us can fit in a 5 am workout or a lunch break body-weight flow. That not only leaves a lot of us exercising in the evenings, but also too-late workouts that can leave you too energized to sleep. But “hold up”, say experts, it isn’t exercising in the evenings that keeps you awake. It’s eating!
Sleep specialist Charles Czeisler tells the Washington Post that you can mess with your circadian rhythms — your body’s sense of what time it is — by eating after sundown. So if you finished your run or your pickup hoops game in the dark, it’s your post-workout meal, not the exercise itself, that messes up your schedule.
So there are a few ways you can fix this. If it’s an occasional thing and you don’t feel hungry afterwards, go ahead and skip that post-workout meal. But most of us will want to find a way to eat after exercise, since that’s a great time to replenish your muscles’ stores of carbohydrate and to provide protein for growth and strengthening.
So that means you’ll have to reschedule your workout so you have enough time to eat while it’s still light out. If the sun sets at 9PM, for example, start your hour-long run at 7:30PM, finish at 8:30PM, and immediately snarf down the meal you thoughtfully prepared beforehand. Czeisler says it’s best if all your eating fits into a 12-hour window, for example from 9AM to 9PM, so you may also want to plan ahead and delay breakfast.