Have you been training at night and can not fall asleep after choking all those white belts? Guess what, you may be suffering from Jiu Jitsomnia. (Coined it!)
The exact technical name used in published academic literature is "post-exercise insomnia" and there are a number of studies in sports medicine and sleep journals that have researched this phenomenon in athletes and active individuals engaging in late, intense workouts. The evidence indicates it is a real transient condition that can disrupt sleep after training.
It can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Increased body temperature: Exercise raises your body temperature, and it can take several hours for your temperature to return to normal. This can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Increased adrenaline and cortisol levels: Exercise also increases your levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which are stress hormones. These hormones can make it difficult to relax and wind down before bed.
- Muscle soreness: Muscle soreness can also make it difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep.
- Mental stimulation: Jiu-jitsu is a mentally stimulating sport, and it can be difficult to turn off your mind after training.
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of Jiu-Jitsomnia, including:
- Avoid exercising too close to bedtime: It is best to avoid exercising within two hours of bedtime. This will give your body time to cool down and your adrenaline levels to return to normal.
- Cool down after training: After your workout, take some time to cool down with some light cardio and stretching. This will help to lower your body temperature and reduce muscle soreness.
- Take a warm bath or shower: A warm bath or shower can help to relax your muscles and promote sleep.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Create a relaxing bedtime routine that you follow every night. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep, so it is best to avoid them in the hours leading up to bedtime.
If you are still having trouble sleeping after following these tips, you may want to talk to your doctor. There may be an underlying medical condition that is contributing to your sleep problems.
Here are some additional tips that may be helpful for jiu-jitsu practitioners:
- Eat a light dinner: Avoid eating a heavy dinner too close to bedtime. This can make it difficult to digest your food and can lead to indigestion and sleeplessness.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Stay hydrated throughout the day and drink plenty of water before and after training. This will help to flush out toxins and reduce muscle soreness.
- Get regular sunlight exposure: Sunlight exposure helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, which is your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight exposure each day.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool: A dark, quiet, and cool bedroom is ideal for sleep. Avoid using electronic devices in bed, as the blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with sleep.
In the 2022 study "Evening Exercise Delays Circadian Rhythms and Inhibits Sleep" published in Applied Sciences, the study examined the effects of evening exercise on sleep in 12 healthy young men. The participants completed exercise sessions on a stationary bike for 60 minutes at moderate intensity starting at 8pm. Sleep was monitored with polysomnography and circadian rhythms were measured by melatonin levels. The results showed that evening exercise significantly delayed the onset of melatonin secretion by 42 minutes compared to non-exercise control days. Sleep onset was also delayed by 15 minutes and total sleep time decreased by 23 minutes on exercise days. Sleep efficiency was reduced and REM sleep was suppressed after evening exercise. The researchers concluded that late evening exercise can delay circadian timing and inhibit sleep by disrupting the normal decline in body temperature and delaying the release of melatonin. They recommend avoiding vigorous training after 8pm and allowing adequate time to wind down before sleep after late workouts to minimize disruptions to sleep.
- Postexercise insomnia in athletes participating in afternoon events: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3716664/
- Effect of evening exercise on sleep in healthy participants: https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2016/07000/Effect_of_Evening_Exercise_on_Sleep_in_Healthy.5.aspx
- Effects of high-intensity interval training on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.569252/full
- Evening Exercise Delays Circadian Rhythms and Inhibits Sleep: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/12/8/4146
- Postexercise insomnia: A critical review of an underrecognized condition: https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/44/5/zsab007/6130006
- Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training and Strength Training on Nocturnal Heart Rate Variability and Sleep Quality: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6508986/