Does Pre-Workout Keep You Awake? (Reasons You Can’t Sleep)

If you're someone who goes hard at the gym, you should be getting a good night's rest. However, if you take pre-workout and are having a hard time falling asleep, there could be a correlation.

So, does pre-workout keep you awake? Let's discuss how it can affect your sleep and how to get the best of both worlds.  

Does pre-workout keep you awake? While there are some people who sleep like babies no matter what, this isn’t the case for everyone.

If you take pre-workout and are having trouble falling asleep, there’s a good chance the supplement is the cause of your insomnia. This can leave you feeling drained – much less able to put in the energy that your workout deserves.  

Pre-workouts are traditionally stimulant products that can affect sleep and keep you up all night. Of course, this does depend on the exact type and brand of supplement you're taking.  

Taking pre-workout at night can supply you with the power you need to destroy your workouts and give you razor focus. However, the ingredients that can help with this are basically the opposite of what you need for good-quality sleep.  

They stimulate the central nervous system (CNS), which makes you alert. This then comes as no surprise that you could experience insomnia shortly after taking them. However, in most cases, the side effects are temporary.  

Related Article - What Happens When You Take Too Much Pre-Workout?

Does Pre-Workout Keep You Awake?

Can’t Sleep? What In Pre-Workout Makes You Stay Awake

What exactly is in pre-workout that can make you stay awake? Let’s go ahead and talk about the main active ingredients.  

Caffeine

With a half-life of 6 hours in the body, if you're sensitive to caffeine, it makes sense that you're awake after taking pre-workout in the evening. Caffeine is essentially the "base" of pre-workout, boosting athletic performance and cognition.

Learn More - How Much Caffeine Is In Pre-Workouts?

L-Theanine

This amino acid further enhances focus and precision, yet can also promote the release of the relaxation chemical “GABA." This means it can actually improve sleep quality and an overall positive mood. [1]

Creatine

However, any relaxation that came from L-Theanine is crushed between caffeine and creatine. Promoting ATP production – which essentially provides energy to the cells – creatine can help with anabolic growth and enhanced strength.

Citrulline Malate

This amino acid boosts anaerobic performance, relieving muscle soreness. Furthermore, it increases protein synthesis, helps with endurance and strength, and even makes your pumps more vascular! 

Maca Root

Maca is a root from Peru with an array of health benefits. However, when used in pre-workout, you can benefit from improved mental clarity, better mood, and an extra jolt of energy. [2]

Synephrine

Increased metabolic rate/caloric expenditure and elevated energy levels definitely don’t seem like a bad thing. However, when you’re trying to get some shut-eye, it’s not ideal.

Keep in mind that not all pre-workouts have these ingredients. However, most top brands and products will include caffeine, creatine, and synephrine. Do all pre-workouts cause insomnia? Most can, but not all.

There are non-stimulant pre-workouts out there that don’t contain caffeine. Instead, these supplements use ingredients that improve blood flow and mental focus.

does pre-workout make you stay awake

How Long Can Pre-Workout Keep You Awake? 

At the bare minimum, pre-workouts last about 2 hours. How quickly the effects wear off depends on the caffeine (and other ingredients) content and you. We all know someone who can't drink coffee past noon because they'll be up all night.

Others can down a cup and fall asleep right after. Our bodies are all different. Generally speaking, however, the energy boost obtained from pre-workout typically lasts around 6 hours, maximum.  

With that being said, try taking your pre-workout no less than 6 hours before bedtime. It's not recommended to take a pre-workout before bed. How long does pre-workout stay in your system?

Again, this depends on various factors, but it should be completely out of your body in 24 hours.

Read Also - How Long Does Pre-Workout Stay In Your Body?

will pre-workout keep me awake

Tips & Tricks to Sleep Better After Taking Pre-Workout

If you took pre-workout, can't sleep, and need a resolution, don't worry! There are some tips and tricks you can utilize to help!  

  1. 1
    Drink Water 
    Drinking water is great for getting just about anything out of your body faster. Caffeine is also a diuretic, and while sweating and working out, can lead to dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, cramps, lethargy, headaches, and other unpleasantries. These can also keep you from being able to fall asleep! Keep in mind that proper hydration doesn’t just involve consuming the right amount of water, but electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium), as well.  
  2. 2
    Melatonin  
    If you have some handy, try taking anywhere from 0.5 mg to 2 mg to help you drift off. Commonly known as the "sleep hormone," it is naturally-produced by our bodies, which means it is safe to use.  
  3. 3
    Use a Non-Stim Pre-Workout 
    As we already mentioned briefly, there are pre-workouts without stimulants (namely, caffeine) in them. There are others that simply contain smaller quantities of caffeine. Alternatively, take half a scoop instead of a full one! 
  4. 4
    Take Pre-Workout Before Noon 
    Taking it in the morning instead gives your body time to metabolize the caffeine and other ingredients that could be keeping you awake at night. Not only that, but if you’re working later in the day, you may find that it helps you stay on-task and focused.  

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Pre-Workout Keeping You Awake FAQs 

What pre-workout has the most caffeine?  

Hooligan Pre-Workout by Apollon Nutrition contains a whopping 600mg of caffeine, along with 7g of L-Citrulline. However, it seems like a new pre-workout comes out every day with even higher caffeine content.  

Does creatine affect sleep?  

Various studies have suggested that creatine supplementation has a similar effect as caffeine in improving athletic performance, increasing the amount of energy available in the muscles and brain. [3] 

Will beta-alanine keep you awake? 

It definitely can, due to the fact that it provides an acute stimulant response. Using it in a pre-workout is with the intention of lasting longer at the gym by resisting muscle fatigue.

That’s almost the exact opposite of what you want to help you fall asleep. We don’t recommend taking beta-alanine or any anabolic ingredients before sleeping.  

How late is too late for pre-workout?  

Ideally, you shouldn't be taking your pre-workout within 6 hours of going to bed. So, for example, if you usually go to bed at midnight, don't take it past 6 pm.  


Conclusion

If you’re having trouble drifting off to sleep after taking your pre-workout, there are ways to resolve the issue.

By following the tips and tricks provided in our guide, you’ll no longer be counting sheep – just reps at the gym. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again soon! 

Last Updated on July 30, 2022

Paul J