Sometimes after intense exercise, I will become very sleepy and require a nap. Sometimes, exercise doesn't affect my sleep at all. And sometimes, I won't be able to sleep at night.

I have a very regular sleeping pattern - in bed by 10:30-11 pm, and up at 8. I usually fall asleep within ten minutes. But on certain high intensity days, I find this doesn't happen. An hour of intense work starting at 3:30 in the afternoon could keep me awake for half the night.

Does anyone know why this happens? And especially, does anyone know a way to mitigate this problem? Some sort of cooldown routine that will keep my sleep regular?

  • I train in the evening, 1830 - 2000, and I'm normally in bed by 2230. I found that having a cold shower (cold as in no hot water) before bed normally knocks me out. Other than that, track your diet and sleep and look for patterns, i.e. do you not sleep if you've eaten pasta the day before, etc.
    – Dark Hippo
    Oct 30, 2017 at 10:14

3 Answers 3


I had this happen to me too! But only when I first started to PR every day (after the first couple of weeks of sorting out form, and not lifting as heavy as I possibly could). Then, I found this post about Exercise Induced Insomnia.

It suggests that poor glycogen replenishment can result in insomnia (I have no science to back this up). I just started eating more and the sleep problem went away for me.

  • I'll check this out the next time I feel it happening. But, I'm not on a low carb diet, so I'm not sure how much it applies to me.
    – masonk
    Dec 9, 2012 at 19:39
  • Btw, +1 for link...most promising lead I've found!
    – masonk
    Dec 10, 2012 at 2:10
  • What does PR mean? Jul 26, 2022 at 8:48

Make sure to eat well following intense exercise.

It's not low glycogen that is keeping you up, it's your post-workout catabolism (yes catabolic hormones can still flow quite freely even hours after a workout).

The solution here is simply to bump up your insulin (which has anti-catabolic effects) level. Get your carbs -- simple carbs work great here -- replenished soon after exercise, and throw in some protein too. Don't try going to bed in a catabolic state -- insulin is your friend here.


I'm late to the game since this is a really old post, but I'd consider the possibility that its your brain and not your body/workout keeping you up. To be clear, it could definitely be either but you sound pretty fit, and I've found that my brain/anxiety/emotional state is the biggest determinant of my sleep. It's probably also pretty easy to isolate and eliminate this variable.

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