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deltabluesman's picture

Does anyone else have trouble sleeping after evening training sessions?  

Lately I've been kicking up the intensity of my training and spending more time on the mats.  The problem is, I've found that some of the evening training sessions (which usually run from 6:30 to 8:30 or from 7:15 to 9:00) are leaving me wide awake for hours.  If it's a low-key class, I'm fine, but if we wrestle or spar I get serious insomnia.     

I used to have this problem years ago but it didn't matter because I was working a flexible schedule and I could sleep in.  But my current job has an early start time and it's taking a toll.  Sometimes I'm rolling into work on 2 or 3 hours of sleep and I'm pretty much a zombie for the entire day (which isn't good because my job is detail-focused and I work long hours).  Sometimes it will even carry over into the next day.

(EDIT:  I thought it might be overtraining so I really cut back on my weightlifting.  Didn't seem to make a difference, still the same either way.)

The doctor suggested melatonin, but it doesn't help much.  I tried meditation.  It calmed me down but didn't help with sleep.  I've even set up my computer to use "night colors" after sunset, but that wasn't enough. 

So far the most effective thing has been taking an ice cold shower before bed.  Not sure why that works, but it does help. 

Has anyone else dealt with this before?  Anything else I should try?  (I'm trying to avoid prescription meds, as I've heard too many bad things about ambien, etc.)

Chris R
Chris R's picture

I also have had this problem. I often struggle with sleep, and training into the late evening makes it worse. I don't believe there is one solution, but rather that you should look into sleep strategies and see what works for you. I believe that keeping a consistent routine, and incorporating various strategies is the best solution. Something like your cold shower is an example of a strategy - On that topic, I have heard that a drop in temperature can make it easier to fall asleep, which might explain why it helped you. The reason why I suggest experimenting is because results can vary based on the individual ... I know that a cold shower would wake me up even more, for example. Having an hour or more to calm down before bed and get ready to sleep may also be a good idea, and you could implement your various strategies during this time. Doing this consistently could get you into a rythm, and help you sleep in the longer term. Hopefully that gave you some ideas to start with, good luck.

Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture

Personally I don't have this problem, quite opposite if I don't train I sleep worse. One of my friends is suffering with "awakeness" after training, she is not able to train after 8pm. Best temperature to sleep for us it's around 16 degrees(avarage). I would try meditation to calm down the mind from excitement and adrenaline rush aftrr training.

Kind regards


deltabluesman's picture

Thanks guys, I really appreciate the feedback.  I will try these ideas out.  My apartment has been hot this summer so temperature could be playing a big role in this.  I'll try taking the temperature down at night and see if that helps, I think it will.

Anf's picture

A few thoughts on this.

Are you dehydrated? You don't have to feel thirsty to be dehydrated. A good training session could do it, and we might not even realise.

Are you pumped full of adrenaline and cortisol from training? That's going to keep you wide awake for hours. Sort of linked to the first point, drinking plenty of water after training may help there.

From a more psychological angle, are you simply overthinking the training session, perhaps even subconsciously? For example, if your training partner got a few in at you, might you be subconsciously mulling over the myriad options you might have had to tighten your defence?

You said you'd tried meditation. Great. I used to meditate a lot but kind of got out of the habit. It does take time and effort to get a good result. If you have the time and the inclination, I'd recommend setting aside some time each week dedicated to meditation practice. I think that's the only way you'll be able to put yourself into a meditative state at will at any time. I used to be able to before I got out of practice. I remember it being worth the effort, but alas, I'm a hypocrite on this one because I can't motivate myself to get back into it.

deltabluesman's picture


Thanks for the response, much appreciated.  It certainly could be related to dehydration, I'm not 100% sure.  I know some people carry around a water bottle all the time to remind themselves to stay hydrated, so it could be worth a shot.  

The good news is that I did see some major improvement after dropping the temperature much lower at night (as Les suggested a while back).  That seemed to clear it up on most days.    

Establishing a regular meditation practice is still on my list of goals--I am terrible at sitting still long enough to get much out of it.  But I suppose with enough time, patience, and dedicated effort, perhaps the benefits will start to materialize.  

Anf's picture

For meditation, you don't have to sit. If you have trouble sitting still for long enough you could lie down, stand up, move, whatever works for you. The goal is not to maintain some physical posture, it is a mental state. The relevance of the physical posture is purely about finding a position that allows free flow of energy (call it chi, or call it unhindered breath and other bodily processes, I see it as the same thing), so that you don't become distracted by your own body. As long as you are comfortable enough then the physical position is fine, regardless of what that is.

deltabluesman's picture

I see what you mean.  It's a good suggestion, definitely, because I think I would find meditation far easier if I could do it while moving.  Since we've been discussing it, I've decided that I'll give this practice another try and see where it ends up.  I've heard there are apps that teach meditation, so perhaps I'll check out one of those and try to get something going.  

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

deltabluesman wrote:
I've heard there are apps that teach meditation, so perhaps I'll check out one of those and try to get something going.

I use the “Waking up” app. It’s a subscription app, but brilliant. The creator has a background in cognitive neuroscience and the app is entirely devoid of hippy-nonsense or pseudo-science. It has a 50-day course to teach mediation (10 to 15 minutes / day) and then it has a guided meditation each day. I use it and highly recommend it.

All the best,


deltabluesman's picture


Really appreciate the recommendation, thank you.  15 minutes per day is certainly doable for me.  I will definitely check this out.