Does Running Keep You Awake?

by Benita Zahn

A crazy thing happens to me when I run long... anything 8 miles and over. I don’t sleep well. You’d think I would sleep like a baby but just the opposite happens. Turns out I’ve got plenty of company and if you’re among my pals in tossing and turning, read on.

When I began my research the first thing I found was that dehydration could play a role. Okay. Perhaps. I’ve been known to skimp on post run hydration. But then again I’m ‘pee’ attentive and in retrospect I don’t think that’s the issue. If you’re new to running, my ‘pee’ reference means your urine should be light yellow indicating you’re well hydrated. Dark indicates you need to drink up. Ideally you should stay hydrated through the day because ‘catching up’ within two hours of bedtime will find you making a bathroom trip or two because you just can’t sleep with a full bladder.

Many Google searches later, my drive for more information led me to the “Miles with Michelle” article in the September 2017 issue of Running. She did a Twitter survey on this issue. Granted, that’s hardly scientific but the responses make sense. Yes, dehydration was among the reasons for interrupted sleep. But others include post-run adrenoceptors (Adrenoceptor | definition of adrenoceptor by Medical dictionary (thefreedictionary.com). Short explanation – your sympathetic nervous system is involved. Turns out adrenoceptors can affect your body like caffeine. So if you routinely run late in the day be sure to wrap up those miles 3 hours before bedtime. Since I’m generally a morning runner that’s not my problem. And I also have the genetic makeup that lets me drink coffee right up to bedtime with no ill effect on my sleep. (Coffee: Is it right for your genes? | Genetic Lifehacks )


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