Post-exercise (ride) insomnia

So this topic may seem completely foreign to most of you, however, a small fraction of athletes suffer from post-exercise insomnia. It might be due to elevated cortisol, body temperature or slight hormonal changes, but whatever it is, the result is the same - a restless night of sleep…right when you NEED a good night’s sleep. I’m looking for any co-suffers and what recommendations they might have to help cope.


This is very common……at least if you exercise late in the afternoon / evening.

There are a number of things you can try, including melatonin, taking cool (or warm) showers right before bed, relaxation / meditation techniques, etc.

But the reality for many people is that you can only minimize the impact, not eliminate it. I do my best to avoid riding in th evenings, even in the summer.


I used to experience this every time I rode more than 100km. Lately I have been eating more afterwards, a lot more, and that seems to be helping.


I certainly have this (just brought it up in this thread, where people certainly had thoughts: How do you feel after a big ride? What's your recovery like? - #47 by DalaiDogma). I think overheating is an element of it with me; I’ve tried with some success taking cool showers and drinking cold water. Another thing that’s a problem is after a big ride, needing to eat so much to replenish calories, that heavy stomach doesn’t help me sleep.

One thing that I’ve found helps a little bit is not setting an alarm for the next morning. When I can’t sleep, knowing I NEED to sleep and have limited time to do so just makes my heart rate go up, and sleep even harder, so allowing myself to sleep in ironically helps me get to sleep and not need to sleep in.

1 Like

I’ve had the same thing, tho it’s only with me if i go really hard then have a meal also, tho if i just have an easy spin its ok

Used to happen to me after later night workouts 100 mg of PharmaGaba works really well at switching from awake/alert to restful/relaxed w/ no side effect profile. Nice hot shower as well worked for me. I’d avoid the commonly used melatonin supplement as exogenous melatonin when a patient doesn’t have a melatonin deficiency tends to lead to night terrors and a sleep hangover feeling.

1 Like

It was a huge issue for me until I was diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea (and I don’t have any apparent risk factors for sleep apnea other than slightly enlarged tonsils). I also had low heart rate variability (HRV), even after adequate recovery.

After using a CPAP, the post-exercise insomnia was greatly diminished and HRV became normal.

I still experience post-exercise insomnia when overtraining/recovering inadequately or after exercise in the evenings.

I have nothing meaningful to add, other than to agree that it can be frustrating, particularly as I would like to use the RGT indoor platform more, but the vast majority of events & races are in the evenings my local time, which rules them out unless I want a really bad night’s sleep :frowning:

1 Like

Hunger is the big thing that keeps me up.

Usually my group rides are in the evening. I try to eat dinner before and snack throughout. The problem is I get home and I’m too tired/lazy to eat a big meal. The combo of the fried legs, and not full stomach leads to me laying there with a racing mind.

To solve this I usually raid the fridge and down a couple of gravol. The use of gravol is pretty rare but it is a bit of extra security to knock me out.

Hunger keeps you up and digesting a huge meal keeps me up, so I guess we’re damned either way.

1 Like

I don’t so much have insomnia, but I can’t fall asleep to start with. I also don’t wake up early enough to do a morning ride/workout, nor do I feel like becoming a morning person. No solutions outside those already mentioned (cold showers, melotonin for instance) to help mitigate except get a job that is ok with waking up late.

Just learn to live with less sleep. :man_shrugging:

As I mentionned on the other thread. There is a very pleasurable way to fix most insomnias: have an orgasm. It just makes your body release a cocktail of hormones that reduce stress and help your body cycle through the different sleep stages.

So have sex or masturbate is the only reliable advice I can give you.

1 Like