Push Ups Before Bed: Boom or Bust For Better Sleep?

by Josh | Last Updated:  July 15, 2020
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One thing I have heard of from the fitness crowd is that if you do a set of push-ups before bed you will have an easier time going to sleep since you exhaust your body. I frequently have had issues with getting to sleep on time and decided to look into the actual information behind this idea.

Does doing push ups before bed help sleep? The overall data shows that late exercise like push ups can disturb your sleep causing the possibility of insomnia to occur. It will take about an hour for your heart rate to slow back down from exercise to ensure your body is still able to slow down in preparation for the sleep cycle so you should quit at a minimum an hour before your bedtime occurs.

There is plenty of documentation that when you exercise before sleep that this has the possibility to cause issues with sleep, does push-ups fit in with these exercise related issues? Maybe the exercising was more oriented to full time workouts where you put in 1 hour or more.

Benefits to Doing Push Ups Before Bed

Getting in some quick reps can help you get your body through the last bit of stored energy prior to sleep, as to beneficial to overall body strength growth the information is much less clear.

If you are looking to raise your endurance blowing out a set of whatever is difficult for you to accomplish will always be beneficial. I would stay you want to figure out this number for yourself as a highly trained individual may be able to do 200 without issue or you may be at 5.

Shot of young woman doing push-ups at the gym - post about Push Ups Before Bed
Shot of young woman doing push-ups at the gym

Don’t let others influence your training routine, if you find that doing your set of push ups before bed helps you make sure to complete them every day then that is a good time. Make sure to ensure it doesn’t impact your sleep overall as sleep is when your body performs repairs and you want to limit that impairment.

Choose Burpees For a Full Body Workout

If you are wanting a more full bodied workout before bedtime I would suggest replacing push ups with burpees. Burpees are more balanced to help all the major muscles get in some work instead of limiting to just an upper body workout.

I love burpees as it takes very few to start getting a full sweat on, additionally with the ability to do them anywhere they are a perfect workout that is always available to you so you can’t complain about the lack of equipment!

Does Exercise Before Sleep Help?

When you dig into the information available the overall answer is a solid “no”. For many this is due to the inability to slow their bodies down after they amp it up with the workout.

When you are working out you are engaging the flight or fight style response in the body, the mind and body are attuned to manage the stress and to perform as needed to survive.

After this time ends though this system doesn’t just “turn itself off”, it needs time to slowly deflate and to shutdown properly. This time seems to vary widely per person, some may be able to workout right before bed without concern but a large amount of people report issues falling asleep for hours.

Does Exercise Help Improve Sleep Quality?

For most people this is a yes for their overall sleep patterns to become more consistent, deep, and restful. This is typically when the exercise is completed more than 2-3 hours before bedtime and not when done immediately preceding the bedtime.

Your human body was built for movement and in today’s world we have tried to push it aside in favor of being in a chair, idle for 8+ hours per day. Getting out and letting the body work naturally through the energy stores can only be beneficial, though if you have health concerns you should speak with your doctor prior to starting to be safe.

Insomnia Caused by Exercise Before Bed

There is a interesting narrative for some people that when they workout close to their bedtime they have a form of insomnia. Similar in many ways because the workout stimulated the mind and body and they are now alert and aware.

For many who have this happen it can be hours before they can fall asleep which leads to very poor quality sleep and waking up while still incredibly drowsy and exhausted.

This feeling is what leads people to stop or quit, if you feel this way then you really need to evaluate your workout time and possibly shift it to the morning and wake up early enough before work instead.

Just How Intensive Are Push Ups?

Overall they are not singularly intensive, they have a compounding effect though on each repetition which can cause fatigue and help the muscles to get the stimulation they need to grow stronger.

Over time alternate style push ups have been evolved into decline, pike, and plenty of more versions to help increase the intensity as needed to get more results.

The highest intensity I am aware of currently would be plyometric push ups where you push up with enough force to get air and remove yourself from the ground.

Sport fitness woman training push-ups image based on post about Push Ups Before Bed
Sport fitness woman training push-ups

Final Thoughts on Push Ups Before Bed

I see no issues in performing push ups before bed, I would suggest you give it a try and see if it impacts your sleep. If it doesn’t impact your sleep then continue to do these push ups and gain some endurance and moving your body forward.

There is a divide in the health and wellness community that you can’t gain strength without machines and barbells, but this isn’t always true. No you may not become overdeveloped if you don’t use weights, but that is preferable to a great many people who don’t want to live at a gym.

Body weight exercises can and do provide your body all the stimulation it actually requires to become lean and strong, both of which are vital to our species survival over the history of mankind. Bigger bodies means more resources are required to survive which is not how our bodies were intended to run.

I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.