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.

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 also 6 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 also 4-Step Bedtime Restorative Practice for Better Sleep