How Your Morning and Nighttime Routines Affect Your Health
Why that's good: Yes, some research has linked morning exercise to benefits like increased fat burning, but the most important factor when it comes to exercise is consistency, says Russell Pate, PhD, professor in the Department of Exercise Science at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. So if early workouts just aren't your thing and nighttime is the only time that you know you'll exercise, stick with your after-hours sweat sessions.
One more thing: The notion that a relatively late workout will lead to lousy sleep is a myth, says Timothy Morgenthaler, MD, sleep expert at the Mayo Clinic and president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Most people can work out, shower and be able to go to bed after that," he says. In one small study of insomniacs, a 50-minute moderate-intensity workout that ended roughly 2 hours before bedtime actually helped participants fall asleep faster and sleep nearly 20 percent longer than they did before they began the exercise program. The exception: very vigorous exercise very close to bedtime, which may make it harder to drift off.