Is walking before going to bed beneficial?

Are you considering a nightly walk before bed as part of your wellness routine? With our busy schedules, it’s crucial to understand how evening walks might impact our sleep and overall health. 

This article dives into the topic, supported by current research, to help you make informed decisions about your pre-sleep activities.

What does the science say?

Recent studies indicate that light to moderate physical activities, such as walking, can enhance sleep quality, particularly in women. 

According to research from Brandeis University and the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, there is a positive correlation between physical activity and sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults

This study reveals that on days when individuals were more active than average, they reported better sleep quality and duration [1]​​.

Top 5 benefits of walking before bed

1. Enhanced sleep quality 

Walking increases the duration of deep sleep by aiding the natural decline in body temperature post-exercise, which is essential for a restful night.

2. Reduced stress

Evening walks can help decompress the mind after a stressful day. The rhythmic nature of walking has a meditative effect, promoting relaxation and reducing stress hormones.

3. Improved digestion

A gentle walk post-dinner can aid digestion and metabolism. It helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is particularly beneficial for diabetics or people with insulin sensitivity.

4. More consistent sleep patterns

Regular walking can help synchronize your natural sleep-wake cycle, also known as circadian rhythms, enhancing the consistency of sleep patterns.

5. Boosted mental health

Walking stimulates the release of endorphins, which improves mood and decreases anxiety and depression symptoms, contributing to a better night’s sleep [2].

Considerations before nightly walks

While walking before bed has many benefits, timing and individual health conditions should be considered to maximize its positive effects on sleep. Here are a few tips:

  • Aim to complete your walk at least 1.5 to 2 hours before bedtime to allow your body temperature to normalize after the exercise.
  • Choose a calm and safe route. Consider well-lit, serene areas that promote relaxation.
  • Do light to moderate walks before bed. Intense workouts might be too stimulating and could delay sleep.

Walking before bedtime can be a beneficial addition to your nightly routine. It promotes better sleep quality and overall health, provided it’s done at a suitable time and intensity. 

As always, consider your specific health circumstances and consult a healthcare provider to tailor this activity to your needs.

Taking a nightly walk might just be the simple step you need toward achieving better health and restful sleep!

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6801055/
[2] https://www.ndtv.com/health/walk-before-bed-daily-to-achieve-these-health-benefits-5498573

Photograph: davidpereiras/Envato
The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.