Insomnia after running?

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I started running roughly 3 weeks ago and ever since I've struggled to sleep. I've scaled back my other exercise (cycling, strength training etc) to focus on running as I don't want to overexercise and I will slowly build my other exercises back into my routine as I get more used to running.

Even on a Sunday, when I go for a run at 9am, I can't sleep and have a really restless night, getting up a lot to go to the toilet and stuff. My anxiety is also through the roof.

Normally exercise helps with my anxiety and insomnia - has anyone else experienced this and will it settle down soon?

Replies

  • kramrn77
    kramrn77 Posts: 375 Member
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    If I run too late at night I have a more difficult time getting to sleep- it's like the run energizes my head and then my brain won't leave me alone no matter how tired the rest of me is. But if I generally run earlier in the day, I tend to sleep much better.

    Is there anything particularly different about running for you? The physical part should be the same, but the mental part could be different...
  • nicola8989
    nicola8989 Posts: 381 Member
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    I think a lot of my running is a focus on mental - I always thought "I'd love to run but I can't do it" - and now I'm discovering I actually can, or am certainly building up to be able to, but it's a constant mental battle to tell myself I can. I was bullied a lot for the way I ran at school and it's taken me a long time to move past that.

    I thought maybe it was the adrenaline and it would settle down once I get used to it? But I suppose I'd be getting adrenaline from cycling too. Hmm...
  • demoiselle2014
    demoiselle2014 Posts: 474 Member
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    Could it be low level soreness in your muscles from the newish exercise? I get that, just sore enough that my sleep isn't sound. Some ibuprofen before bed fixes it, and as I got fitter at running it went away.
  • mbaker566
    mbaker566 Posts: 11,233 Member
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    it will probably help soon. your body might be getting used to it.

    me I just want to sleep after. the bed calls to me
  • belimawr
    belimawr Posts: 1,155 Member
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    I'm an insomniac, horrible at sleeping, 2-3 hours a day best. However I found when I first started running, it actually helped my sleep, even if minutely. Riding my bike sometimes I want to take a nap after (but never do).

    If you're running at 9am, that's far eough from bedtime, so it's not that.

    Did you make any other changes about the same time that maybe you've forgotten about?
  • runnerchick69
    runnerchick69 Posts: 317 Member
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    It could be other things but it seems like it's the running that is the culprit. I sleep like a baby after I run, even if I go for a run later at night. After a marathon I'm pretty much comatose :D I would say keep working towards your goal and see how it goes. It could be after your body is accustomed to running things will level off and you'll be able to sleep. Good for you for starting to run! It transformed my entire life!
  • nicola8989
    nicola8989 Posts: 381 Member
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    thanks everyone - can't think of any other changes.

    I was a little bit sore at first but not so much now, I stretch and stretch and stretch afterwards!

    Thanks runnerchick - I cycle between hating running but loving the feeling afterwards and loving the whole thing!
  • Steve_ApexNC
    Steve_ApexNC Posts: 210 Member
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    nicola8989 wrote: »
    thanks everyone - can't think of any other changes.

    I was a little bit sore at first but not so much now, I stretch and stretch and stretch afterwards!

    Thanks runnerchick - I cycle between hating running but loving the feeling afterwards and loving the whole thing!

    I would guess you are getting a good adrenaline rush. Maybe try changing when you run if that is possible. The other thing that come to mind is caffeine. Just last night, I drank a cup of Chai Tea around 8:30. Big mistake. Caffeine + diuretic had me up for hours past bed.

    On a very loosely related note, I have read several reports in the last year or so about screen (e.g. tv, book readers, computers) use in the evening causing insomnia. It seems the light tricks our bodies into thinking it is daytime so rather than wanting to sleep, it wants to get up. Circadian rhythms and such. Just thought I would throw it out in case you do screens at night.

  • nicola8989
    nicola8989 Posts: 381 Member
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    I don't drink tea or coffee but I do drink Coke Zero so there could be caffeine in there - I've always drunk it though.

    Actually recently I've tried to get into a routine of switching the TV off at 8 or 9pm and going up to bed to read - because like you I'd seen several of these reports.
  • msf74
    msf74 Posts: 3,498 Member
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    I had this issue myself in the past but it occurs when I undertake intense exercise in the evening time.

    The main cause was elevated core body temperature for me as this inhibits natural sleep patterns. What helped was having a cool shower in the evening, wearing loose fitting clothing and leaving some windows in my bedroom open some time before I went to bed to lower room temperature.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    Build up a pre-sleep ritual and follow it to the letter - relax, meditate, take a hot shower/bath, and stretch out before bedtime. Drink some tea or something with a distinct smell that you will eventually recognize as a sleep trigger.

    I do a mental relaxation exercise and think "My toes are relaxed, my feet are relaxed, my ankles are relaxed and travel upwards" Same as counting sheep, but gets your brain in a better state for sleep.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,719 Member
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    Do you get up because you need a wee, or just wee because you're awake?
  • bwogilvie
    bwogilvie Posts: 2,130 Member
    edited July 2015
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    I often have insomnia after a particularly challenging run or bike ride—rides of more than 60 miles, especially if there are lots of hills, and runs that are intense and more than an hour. That's regardless of when I do them. I slept badly last night after a 9-mile run in 85-degree weather. I presume it has something to do with recovery, but I'm not sure what.
  • rsclause
    rsclause Posts: 3,103 Member
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    I had insomnia that was most likely related to business stress. When I started running it got better. When I really started adding the miles on I was cured. I get up at 4:30 AM to run and now by 9:30 PM I am sleeping on the couch or in the bed.
  • nicola8989
    nicola8989 Posts: 381 Member
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    TavistockToad - I'm not really sure.

    Thanks everyone - I think it might be because it's challenging and it's recovery - not that the runs are very challenging but they are for me as a beginner!