Will a Vigorous Evening Vinyasa Class Disrupt Sleep?

Rubin Naiman, a clinical and sleep-health psychologist, offers advice for practicing before bed.
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Rubin Naiman, a clinical and sleep-health psychologist, offers advice for practicing before bed.
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Rubin Naiman, a clinical and sleep-health psychologist, offers advice for practicing before bed.

It can. Sleep largely depends on lowering your core body temperature, and vigorous exercise has the opposite effect. In a healthy sleep pattern, your body temperature drops when the sun sets, reaches its lowest point just before dawn, and starts to elevate at sunrise. But an after-dark high-energy yoga class under bright lights suppresses melatonin production and activates your sympathetic nervous system, which increases blood flow to your muscles, making you feel more awake.

See also6 Ayurvedic Nighttime Rituals for Better Sleep

If the evening is your only window for practice, choose a slower-paced yoga class, such as Yin or restorative, that emphasizes deep breathing and prolonged pose holds. You might also seek a class that’s held in a candlelit or low-light room to avoid stimulation. These options engage your parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with relaxation.

See also4-Step Bedtime Restorative Practice for Better Sleep