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I have noticed that on days where I push myself physically more than normal, for example a long hike, running a half-marathon, starting lifting weights again after a long break etc. My body will feel very physically tired for the rest of the day.

At the same time on these days of over-exertion I often sleep very badly. I feel tired physically and mentally but often when it comes to actually sleeping, I do not sleep well. This is opposed to days where I do physical activity but stay within my "normal" work capacity. Often there is clear separation between the activity and sleep (6+ hours).

Is this just me being weird, or is this an actual "thing" that can happen. If it is just me being weird are there any possible causes that can be thought of? I am interested as my intuition tells me, them ore exhausted my body is the more I need to sleep, therefore the easaier it should be, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

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  • Absolutely. This is a common thing. Take care!
    – Fattie
    Commented May 24 at 22:14

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Yes. It's called being "tired but wired". It often happens when high stress causes a large spike in cortisol. Cortisol is naturally elevated in the morning to help you wake up, but that side-effect is apparent throughout the day as well if it remains too high.

So in your case your intense workouts are elevating your stress levels which elevates your cortisol. Your cortisol is elevated which tells your body that it's not time to sleep. Caffeine also elevates cortisol, and if you're taking any stims as a pre-or-intra workout then that's going to contribute.

So the goal for the rest of the day after your workout is to reduce your stress levels. Hot showers, eating nutritious meals, general relaxation, and not consuming caffeine helps. Worst case, if it's deeply impacting your life, you may consider asking a doctor to suggest or prescribe a cortisol blocking supplement.

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