Indoor vs. Outdoor Intensity - Impact on Sleep

Hi there. Strange question. I have heard the TR-gang discuss how doing an intense workout in the evening can have a negative impact on sleep. In my experience, I have a much harder time sleeping if I do my workout outside.

For example, last Sunday I did Juneau -1 outside. It ended up being 2hrs 20mins with TSS of 159 and IF of 0.82. I finished the ride around 5:00 PM and went to bed around 10:00 PM. I could not fall asleep until about 3:00 AM. This is just one example - this happened to me almost every time I rode outside in the afternoon with some intensity last summer.

On the other hand, I did a tough VO2 Max workout on Tuesday night (Bashful +6) and a tough Threshold workout (Avalanche Spire +1) yesterday. Both were inside, starting around 6:00 or 6:30 PM and finishing around 8:00 PM. Again, I went to bed around 10:00 PM and had no issue falling asleep. And I did both workouts in a hotel room with inadequate cooling.

Has anyone else experienced this? Is there any reason why outdoor workout would have more of an impact on sleep quality? Is there an extra rush of adrenaline from riding outdoors? Ultimately, I think the solution is simple - do my outdoor rides in the morning - but I am still curious why this might be happening.

I generally get to bed later after riding outside because of added stress. Cleaning the bike, ride takes longer, traffic, pollutants, timing of nutrition, etc.

For me these are pretty dialed in on an indoor ride. The five hour difference is quite long and may have other factors contributing like allergies or other life stress that day.

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whats the rest of your day like post outdoor ride? finishing at 8 then going to bed in 2 hours leaves a lot less to do then finishing at 5 and having 5 hours of added “life stresses” especially if youve got a family and kids. versus being away in a hotel room with nothing else to pile on your plate post workout

That could be it. In the hotel I just shower, eat, read, and go to bed. At home I’m usually running around trying to take care of my responsibilities or pack my bag to leave on Monday morning.

its a big difference. my “normal” schedule is workout around midnight after work, sleep around 4am, wakeup around noonish. while on training camps that totally flips. up at 745, ride all day, sleep around midnight. at home thats nearly impossible to do, but while only having to worry about riding and nothing else its quite easy

That is a crazy schedule. Props to you for the dedication.

i used to get forced to work 3pm to 3am a lot. maybe 1 outta 5 days id go home at 11. after a while you just get used to it. does mean im usually the only american doing zwift races at 1:10am sometimes but hey thats life. im fortunate that i race on the track and the races start at around 7pm so no need to be up at the crack of dawn ready to go

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