According to sleep expert Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan, some people get revved up by exercise, while others use it mostly to relieve stress and chill out.
If you’re in the latter category, you’re probably fine exercising up to two hours before bed. However, if you’re in the other category—which it sounds like you may be—Breus has some tips for you. “Take a nice, hot 15- to 20-minute shower or bath after you work out,” he says. “Or use a steam room or sauna.” The temperature change when you then cool down will signal your body to produce melatonin, the hormone that causes drowsiness.
Also, if you’re in the habit of packing in huge protein shakes before or after a nighttime workout, you may want to cut back. “Too much protein can leave you very alert, which makes it hard to sleep,” Breus says.