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Why do we sleep better after a good workout?(11 posts)

Why do we sleep better after a good workout?128
Nov 25, 2002 12:41 PM
Is this generally true for most?
I just take that for granted but it occured to me: I have no clue as to why; muscles tired and stay asleep? Some bio-chemical thing? Mind less active as muscles repair? Stress release subdues the 'evil meddling' mind? I'm sure much of this (as in most fitness/nutrition issues) is highly individual and that there are a lot of factors but as a general premise it seems rather common as well. Now that I think about it; just what is "tired" exactly? I think 'restorative' sleep is where synapses or some chemical is replenished...? (oh, sh*t, it just occured to me: what is sleep! I'm in too deep!)

This occured to me as I have been unable to get a good workout recently as ALL my time and energy are going into house work and the cold limits the rides. But for Jessums sake, last night after a solid workout I got 9 hours of truly 'restorative' sleep which felt really great. I'm usually up after 5 1/2-6 hours sleep, which is all I generally require.

Row, row row your boat....!
It's All in Your Head!!Jon Billheimer
Nov 25, 2002 12:50 PM
Strenuous aerobic exercise depletes the body's supply of branched chain amino acids. As BCAA levels decline tryptophan--a neurotransmitter in the brain--levels increase. Tryptophan is then converted to serotonin, which produces the "I-feel-good-now-I'm-going-to-take-a-nap" effect.
Head is a powerful thing. I'm beginning to think that serotonin128
Nov 25, 2002 1:21 PM
is the central control room. Everytime something works out real good, seotonin creeps in to the explanation. So, the brain controls the whole thing? The muscles are not paralyzed and dreamimg of protein shakes n' stuff??
As for the drug conversation, maybe the idea is 'drugs are for lazy people'not willing to get a good work out, as that natural high is totally the top and completely addictive. So stay out of those gyms kids and skip the turkey!!

(actually, I'm still trying to get my mind around the 'branched chain amino acid' concept.....)

thanks. good info.
For me, it depends on the time of day..Dave Hickey
Nov 25, 2002 12:59 PM
Morning and afternoon workouts, I sleep like a baby. If I workout in the evenings, I can't sleep.
Me, too.dzrider
Nov 25, 2002 1:34 PM
If I work out after 7:00 PM I'm very likely to pop up, wide awake, some time during the night.
Me, too.128
Nov 25, 2002 1:39 PM
Yeah now that you mention it, that's true for me too. During post grad I often worked out in the late afternoon and studied late no problem. Interesting.
I'm not sure if It's because I sleep better or...Ken of Fresno
Nov 25, 2002 1:05 PM
just that I feel more alert (awake?) the next day after a good ride, but It's a very good feeling. Kind of like my brain has been switched on hi, and everything just works better. I don't know what it is, but IIII like it!!!
I don't know.I'll sleep on it tonight.PEDDLEFOOT
Nov 25, 2002 1:15 PM
How about the 2 pm 'sleepies'? Do you get those?128
Nov 25, 2002 1:48 PM
I can set my watch (w/in a 1/2 hour) of 2, easy. My head feels like a serotonin balloon or something. I would be more productive sleeping under an apple tree until 3...

And then- ping!- I'm back.
only after eating a heavy, starchy lunchlonefrontranger
Nov 25, 2002 2:00 PM
classic case of PM "crash" caused by ingesting too much starchy food at lunchtime. This includes processed "box" foods containing modified food starches. For example, canned spaghetti sauce is loaded with food starch, so a plateload of pasta with bottled / canned sauce is a double-whammy of snooze.

There are several good threads on the Fitness & Nutrition board right now containing all the science and biochemistry to back up why this happens.

Since I've cut a lot of the pasta, potatoes & breads out of my diet and started eating more "natural" foods at lunchtime (read: a salad, a cup of soup, an apple or berries for dessert). I've been energized all day.
The mental demands of staying upright....willem72
Nov 25, 2002 2:09 PM
I've heard a theory which suggests that a large proportion of our total brain work is devoted to managing the effects of gravity on the body: staying upright, walking straight, making sure the water goes in our mouth not down our front etc. Add in strenuous physical exercise, especially one which alters/varies our usual bodily attitudes in relation to the ground and requires a high level of conscious cognitive effort and subconscious concentration (cycling, gymnastics, swimming, cricket, pub-crawling etc), and the brain gets very tired and tells the body: let's have a rest.

As we get fitter, and in particular as our structural fitness improves, we use less brain power dealing with gravity each day, which frees up more mental capacity to do high-level cognitive work (eg writing novels, playing komputa games, telling better jokes, fabricating great racing stories, lodging vexacious writs etc).

Life has been hard for me recently: haven't been sleeping at all well at work. Might have to disconnect the phones....;-)