Taking Pre-Workout at Night [Why You Should Avoid It]

Posted in  Supplements  on  September 6, 2021 by  Welcyon Team

Do you take pre-workout supplements before bed and experience better sleep? Or do they make it harder to fall asleep and can impair your cognitive function the next day?

These are the questions we want to address in this article. We'll explain how pre-workouts can affect sleep and health, along with some strategies for making sure that your pre-workout supplement is good not only for performance but also for health.

Let's get started.

Can I Take a Pre-Workout at Night?

This largely depends on the type of pre-workout supplement that you are planning on taking. If it is a stimulant product then it would not be advisable as it will keep you awake for many hours which might cause sleep problems if taken in the late evening or near bedtime. Generally, pre-workouts that contain anabolic ingredients, like creatine or beta-alanine, are not advisable to take during the night as this will result in stimulation.

Similarly, pre-workouts usually contain stimulants that can keep you awake for long enough to prevent you from getting proper rest at night. [1] So it can be best avoided. You also have to keep in mind that other ingredients like nitrates and caffeine should be avoided as well since they may cause side effects if taken at night.


So if you are looking to take a pre-workout supplement at night then it is best to avoid taking stimulants and avoid nitrates or caffeine. For instance, you can use the stimulant-free pre-workouts.

Will Pre-Workouts Keep Me Awake?

Pre-workout supplements are designed to help you push through fatigue and achieve maximum physical capacity. They contain ingredients like caffeine, which will make it easier to perform physical activities that would have previously caused you difficulty. [2]

These ingredients are meant to stimulate the central nervous system, leading to alertness, muscle strength, and power.

Studies have found that caffeine is indeed a potent stimulant of the central nervous system, increasing alertness and performance by up to 40% in some studies. [3]

Despite the benefits, however, pre-workout supplements should be taken with caution.


It's not uncommon to experience side effects like insomnia or insomnia shortly after taking them. Generally, these side effects are only temporary; however, you should still make sure that your chosen supplement doesn't interfere with your sleep schedule. [4]

There are three reasons why you might experience trouble sleeping after taking pre-workout supplements. First, many of them contain caffeine or other stimulants that can increase wakefulness. Second, some pre-workouts contain stimulating properties such as taurine and glycerol that can boost energy and performance. Third, many pre-workouts also contain beta-alanine and other amino acids that can increase athletic endurance and boost the effectiveness of workouts.

When you consume any of these ingredients (especially caffeine), they can affect your central nervous system, increasing alertness and concentration. The effects of caffeine alone last for up to six hours, which can interfere with sleep if taken too late in the day.

Drawbacks of Taking Pre-Workouts at Night

As we said above, some pre-workouts contain caffeine and other stimulants that can keep you awake at night. It is best to avoid taking these pre-workouts before bedtime. Additionally, stimulants will cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase which could lead to insomnia or nightmares due to the muscles tensing up during periods of arousal.

Let's take a closer look at the drawbacks of taking pre-workouts at night:

1

Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person has trouble sleeping. If someone experiences poor sleep, they may feel tired during the day but still, be unable to get proper rest. It's not uncommon for people with insomnia to be irritable or moody if they're not getting enough sleep. [5]

Every bodybuilder has heard about the dangers of consuming caffeine before beginning a workout, but have you heard about the potential effects pre-workouts can have on your sleep?

Pre-workout supplements are designed to mimic natural energy during exercise, so it makes sense that they would have adverse effects on sleep.

2

Digestive Problems

If you’re someone who regularly does intense exercise, you may regularly take a pre-workout supplement as well. But before you go and slam down your shake right after dinner, read this first: many people seem to experience stomach pains and other issues when they take their pre-workouts at night. [5]

You’re not alone in this issue, and there are a few reasons why this might be the case: firstly, it might be that your blood sugar is too high after eating, leading to an upset stomach. Secondly, there may be caffeine in the drink that could lead to an upset stomach or heartburn. Finally, if the product contains other ingredients like creatine, these can cause digestive issues.

3

High blood pressure

Yes, the research shows that your blood pressure can be elevated by consuming a pre-workout drink before going to bed. So it is best not to consume a pre-workout with caffeine in it within six hours before going to bed. Some ingredients found in pre-workouts also have a diuretic effect meaning they make you urinate more resulting in dehydration and stress on your body which is known to aggravate high blood pressure.

In most cases, if you are experiencing symptoms such as headaches or dizziness from consuming a pre-workout drink then seek medical attention immediately as these symptoms could be due to an underlying condition such as high blood pressure.


How to Avoid the Drawbacks of Taking Pre-Workouts?

These issues can be resolved by simply adjusting your late-night eating habits and timing your pre-workouts for a time when they will not interfere with sleep.

Take Sleep Supplements

You may be having problems with insomnia when it comes to sleep. You might want to try taking sleep supplements or use natural sleep aids such as melatonin, pills containing Valerian Root, and Lavender essential oil. These can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. They will help you in getting a good night's rest and in feeling more energized during the day and less stressed out in general.

Use Stimulant-Free Pre-Workout Supplements

A few years ago, the only pre-workout supplements found in stores contained stimulants that could cause side effects like insomnia, rashes, and delusional thinking. However, nowadays, many manufacturers have started producing stimulant-free pre-workout supplements. These supplements still contain natural ingredients such as green tea and caffeine anhydrous but do not contain stimulants which can cause some people to suffer.

Choose the Right Time for Your Workout and Taking Pre-Workout Supplement

A lot of people use pre-workout before they work out. The problem is that if you take it too close to bedtime, then your body may not get the rest it needs. The other risk is that you'll experience stimulant-related anxiety when trying to fall asleep which can cause difficulty sleeping for up to twelve hours after taking the pre-workout.

The best time to take pre-workout would be about 30 minutes or 2 hours before your workout starts. This way your body will get the proper nutrients to make sure you get the most out of your workout. [6]

I recommend taking it when you wake up or right before lunch if you can't do it when you wake up. I also recommend when taking pre-workout to only take half of it if you are not used to taking stimulants. Everyone is different when it comes to how each person reacts. Just start with one scoop and then work your way up once the body gets accustomed to that amount.


Summary

Pre-workout supplements should not be taken at night. Pre-workout supplements increase blood flow and metabolism in the body. They help with energy and endurance during physical activities. When taken too late at night, these supplements can increase the heart rate and blood pressure that may already be increased due to the body's natural circadian rhythm. This can cause muscle and cardiovascular damage and even death in some cases.

Always be aware of the effects of pre-workout supplements on your body and how they will affect you when taken at night. Use pre-workouts wisely, only when needed, and never exclusively for every workout session.

If you're looking for other pre-workouts, we recommend you to check out the related posts:


References:

1. Andrew R. Jagim, Patrick S. Harty, Clayton L. Camic, Common Ingredient Profiles of Multi-Ingredient Pre-Workout Supplements, retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413194/
2. Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN, Caffeine and Exercise, retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/fitness/sports-and-performance/fueling-your-workout/caffeine-and-exercise
3. A. Smith, Effects of caffeine on human behavior, retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12204388/
4. P. Nawrot, S. Jordan, J. Eastwood, J. Rotstein, A. Hugenholtz, M. Feeley, Effects of caffeine on human health, retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12519715/
5. Daniel Preiato, RD, CSCS, 5 Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements, retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pre-workout-side-effects
6. Danielle Hildreth, CPT, Tyler Read, BSc, CPT, How Long Does a Pre-Workout Last? All You Need to Know, retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/how-long-does-pre-workout-last

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