Aa
A
A
A
Close
Sleep Disorders Community
4.95k Members
Avatar universal

Insomnia after workout. Please help.

Hello, my problem is a bit detailed but please hear me out. I'm very frustrated.

About 1 and 1/2 months ago, I decided to start working out (lifting weights). I've worked out for 2-3 years about 12 years ago. I've had no trouble sleeping. So, I went into it hard. First time, my workout was intense using heavy weights. I'm skinny and really not in shape so doing squats with 25 LBS dumbbell on each side was pretty challenging at 12 reps. I did other exercises for about 1 hour. My sleep that night was light and shorter than usual. I thought whatever, rested a day and worked out again intensely the day after. That night, my sleep was light and shorter than the previous one. At that point, I didn't attribute my quality of sleep to exercise because I was thinking that exercise ALWAYS should give me good quality of sleep, so I didn't give it much thought. I rested a day and the next day I went into it hard. That night, I got the same poor quality sleep. I rested 2 days and worked out hard again. That night, I got NO sleep. Not even a wink. Wide awake. While I was awake, I recalled my quality of sleep on my previous workout days as well and did some searching online. It said that overexercising can result in insomnia. So I assumed that's what it was. I'm 40 now, so I'm assuming that plays a factor too. I've also had a slight injury where my wrist was hurting me a bit. After those workout sessions, I decided to take a break for a week.

A week after, I went into hard again. NO sleep. Might I add that all my exercises have been late morning or early afternoon. Between 11am - 1pm. I was frustrated so I decided to take another week off but during that week I couldn't sleep 4 days out of 7. I decided to take a longer break. About 2 weeks. After two weeks, I worked out again. For some reason I thought that I was stronger so I did squats with heavier weight. It was a pretty intense exercise. No sleep that night. The next day I got no sleep either even though I didn't exercise. I guess I was in denial and thought I was fully rested which is why I went into it hard. Two days later I developed muscle soreness in my left trapezius and tendinitis in my left arm. I decided to take a break until the tendinitis and the pain went away.

Yesterday, while I had very light pain and some tendinitis, I decided to do a light exercise for 30-40 mins, without putting strain on my trapezius and left arm. So I did some body weight planks. Did squats and deadlifts using a 25 LBS dumbbell, which was not heavy at all, but I broke quite a bit of sweat. But I thought that was because I sweat alot during workout anyway and it was humid that day. NO sleep again last night. I couldn't understand why.. The only thing I can think of is that, I haven't fully recovered yet. But I'm thinking I should have recovered somewhat and that light exercise shouldn't have kept me awake ALL night. I literally was lying in bed for 8 hours, jumped out of bed and writing this.

I'm concerned now because I feel like I can never lift weights again. And even if I did, it wouldn't be anything that would help me gain muscle and strength. I'm skinny already so cardio would literally make me even thinner. Should I wait few months before easing into it again?  Is over exercising really is the cause? I'd welcome any advice and input.
1 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
Well, this is unusual.  It's well known that if you exercise too close to bed, it makes falling to sleep hard but in general, day time exercise usually enhances night time sleep (weight training included).  Okay, this is a question that I don't want you to take offense to, but is there any chance you suffer anxiety?  That this is a manifestation of anxiety?  If the first time you had insomnia was around when you were weight training first but unrelated but YOU correlated it to that . . . that your expectation then becomes that you won't sleep. Then you worry/are anxious about it and don't.  ??  Just a thought.  What about some melatonin?  Have you ever tried that.  Lots of people have success with this.  You get it at natural health stores in the supplement area and can ask the people at the store or follow bottle directions.  But it supposedly will help you fall and stay asleep with no hang over effect the next day like a sleep aid has.  
good luck
3 Comments
Yes, that's a good point! I do have anxiety and I wouldn't rule it out because I did suffer from insomnia before working out. But it was maybe once or twice a month. I would say I lost 8 days of sleep in the last month, which is unusual. Maybe it is the anxiety worrying that I won't fall asleep. But I think it's more than that because I would go to sleep often slightly worrying that I might not fall asleep but still did. Up until the night of the 4th workout, I was not worrying about sleep at all. It was only when I was lying awake at night, I started researching about the possible causes. I don't wanna take the chance and work out again and lose sleep. I'll go see a doctor too. Thanks for your reply! If you have any other thoughts please share.
I've tried melatonin too before but it hasn't worked. Maybe I'll try again.
One sleep method is to use paradoxical psychology where you try to stay awake and end up so bored that you fall asleep because it is too hard to stay awake when you are tired. Presently you are trying to force sleep which can make some people more anxious as the night wears on, so try the other way to see if it works.
There is no connection between early day exercise and insomnia so I would just go do your exercise routine and look for other causes for the sleep issue. It is late night exercise that speeds up your metabolism and causes sleep issues as sm stated.
If a natural sleeping aid works for you I would use it sparingly for a temporary solution, however none have been proven in studies to work for everyone so you might get nothing out of them. Prescription sleeping meds are more reliable except they tend to poop out after 3 months plus most people feel dozy when they wake up.
Sleep can be affected by any things, so effects are difficult to attribute to any specific thing which makes anecdotal evidence not reliable.
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Healing home remedies for common ailments
Dr. Steven Park reveals 5 reasons why breathing through your nose could change your life
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.