Pre-Workout At Night: How To Take Without Negative Effects

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If you work out at night, you might be wondering how to take pre-workout without buzzing and bouncing off the walls afterward, making it hard for you to sleep.

The best way to take pre-workout at night is to use non-stim formulas or to use a smaller dose of pre-workout. You should also avoid any other sources of caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, or cola) or stimulants (e.g. synephrine, taurine, or guarana).

Because getting a good night’s sleep is so important for recovery, it’s key to learn how to take pre-workout at night without interfering with your sleep.

Key Takeaways:

  • Whether pre-workout impacts your ability to sleep will depend on your personal sensitivity level to caffeine and other stimulants, and whether your pre-workout contains these ingredients.
  • Pre-workout can interfere with sleep, which can lead to poor recovery, poor mood, lack of concentration, increased risk of injury & illness, and struggles to lose weight.
  • There are several simple tips you can use to make it easier to fall asleep including the amount, timing, and type of pre-workout (we cover 5 tips below).

In A Hurry? Here’s Our Top Recommendation

Our #1 pre-workout for late-night workouts is Transparent Labs Stim-Free.

  • It’s clinically dosed (meaning the doses have been proven by scientific studies).
  • It’s 3rd-party tested for ingredient transparency and accuracy
  • It’s 20% cheaper than similar, less effective products ($1.61 per serving versus $2.00/serving).

Learn more in our full review of Transparent Labs Stim-Free.

Is It Bad To Take Pre-Workout At Night?

No, it is not bad to take pre-workout at night. 

It can give you the energy and mental focus to have a great training session and get better results than if you didn’t take a pre-workout supplement. 

It only becomes a problem if the pre-workout interferes with your ability to sleep afterward.

Pre-workout supplements are popular for a reason: they help produce better results from training.  

These results include improvements in anaerobic peak power, strength, muscular endurance, stamina (more time to reach exhaustion), mental focus and mood, and lower perceived effort.

You don’t want to miss out on all of these benefits, but you won’t get them if you’re not able to properly recover after your workout with a good night’s sleep.

So, it’s important to choose pre-workout supplements that still allow you to sleep well, and to find ways to take pre-workout supplements at night so that you can fall asleep easily after your training.

Will Pre-Workout Keep You Awake?

Pre-workout will not always keep you awake. 

Not all pre-workout supplements contain caffeine or other stimulants, and some people are less sensitive to caffeine, meaning that they can still fall asleep easily even shortly after consuming caffeine.

If you have a non-stim pre-workout supplement (meaning that it does not contain caffeine or other stimulants), and you are still having trouble sleeping, then it’s not from your pre-workout. 

Instead, it could be from feeling “amped up” from a good workout.

Next, even for supplements with stimulants, some people metabolize caffeine very quickly, meaning that it doesn’t stay in their bodies for as long, and they don’t feel the energy-boosting effects.

It’s also possible to build up a tolerance to caffeine over time, so even if pre-workout keeps you awake at first, it might not continue to do so after a few weeks of regular consumption.

Other Drawbacks Of Taking Pre-Workout At Night

other drawbacks of taking pre-workout at night

Beyond having a hard time falling asleep (insomnia), taking pre-workout at night can also lead to poor recovery, poor mood, lack of concentration, increased risk of injury & illness, and struggles to lose weight.

These negative side effects aren’t necessarily directly related to the pre-workout itself but are a result of lower quality sleep that IS a direct result of taking pre-workout at night.


Good quality sleep of adequate duration is the single most important element of recovery for athletes. 

Whether you’re aiming for a podium or working out to improve your health and quality of life, it’s vitally important to get a good night’s sleep so that you can recover from your training and be prepared for the demands of your life the next day.


Sleep deprivation reduces your sense of well-being

If you’ve ever felt grumpy after a night of poor-quality sleep, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. 

You’ll want to be sure that your pre-workout supports you feeling good physically and mentally both during your workout AND the next day.


Sleep loss has major negative impacts on cognitive and behavioral performance

When sleep is restricted, individuals find it harder to focus, and they make more mistakes.

Immune System

Significant detrimental effects on the immune system can be seen after just a few days of sleep deprivation, so if your pre-workout is keeping you up, it increases your risk of getting sick.


Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to higher BMI, whereas individuals with higher quality and quantity sleep have more weight loss success. 

If your pre-workout is keeping you up at night, it can be harder for you to lose or maintain your weight, and you might even gain weight.

How To Properly Take Pre-Workout At Night

how to properly take pre workout at night

Step #1: Limit or avoid other sources of caffeine during the day

Caffeine can take a long time to clear out of your body. 

On average, the half-life of caffeine is five hours, meaning that half of the caffeine will still be present in your body five hours later.  

For example, if you have a coffee at noon with 100mg of caffeine, you will still have 50mg of caffeine in your body at 5 p.m. 

If you then take a pre-workout with 200mg of caffeine, you will have 250mg of caffeine in your system for your workout, and that pre-workout will contribute to 100mg of caffeine at 10 p.m., the same as a cup of coffee.

Step #2: Take a smaller dose of pre-workout

Use a ¼ to ½ size serving to see if it still gives you a boost for your workout, but without impacting your sleep. 

Experiment with a given dose for at least 3-5 days to gauge the impact, and find the right balance for you.

Step #3: Get a proper cool-down

Since pre-workout and exercise both ramp up your central nervous system and your cardiorespiratory system (faster breathing and higher heart rate), it’s important to spend time properly cooling down to slow your breathing and heart rate.

This will let your body temperature come down to normal versus rushing out of the gym after your last rep.

Step #4: Eat a balanced post-workout snack

Working out increases stress levels in your body with the hormone cortisol. 

Fast-digesting carbs like sugar help to stop the release of cortisol, so it’s a good idea to have a post-workout meal or snack with quick carbs and lean protein.

This will help to bring stress levels down and give you a full stomach so that you’re not waking up in the night due to hunger.

Step #4: Take sleep-promoting supplements

Melatonin, magnesium (bis-glycinate or citrate form), GABA, and l-theanine are all supplements that can help with falling asleep faster and promote relaxation.

Be sure to discuss supplements with your doctor or other health care provider to make sure that they are right for you, considering your personal health history and other products (vitamins, medications, or other supplements) you are taking.

Step #5: Adjust your bedtime

If possible, shift your schedule so that it is later, so that there are at least five hours between when you take your pre-workout and when you go to bed. 

So, if your workout is at 5 p.m., bedtime should be no earlier than 10 p.m.  This will give you time to cool down, eat, get ready for sleep, and clear most of the caffeine out of your body.

What To Look For In A Pre-Workout To Take Late At Night

If you’re going to be taking a pre-workout late at night (especially if there are less than five hours between taking it and bedtime), your best bet is to find a stimulant-free (“stim-free”) supplement.  You’ll also want to be sure that you can actually trust the label, so a third-party certified product is important.

  • Ingredients to avoid (stimulants): Amperall, caffeine, ephedrine, ginseng, guarana, methylphenethylamine, methylxanthine, synephrine, taurine, theobroma cacao (cocoa), yohimbe, and more – check out this listing of common stimulants in supplements for more. 
  • Ingredients to look for: agmatine, beta alanine, BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), citrulline (or l-citrulline), creatine, glycerol, nitrosigine, and tyrosine are all supplements to help with muscle strength, performance, and mental focus but they are not stimulants.
  • Third-party certification: when a product is third-party certified, it means that it has been independently verified to contain only the ingredients stated, in the amounts stated.  

Look for these logos/labels on your product:

Third Party Certified Logos
  • Transparent labeling: in order to know what a product actually contains, you’ll want to look for labels that actually list all the ingredients rather than hiding them in proprietary “blends” or “stacks.”
What to look for and avoid on the ingredient label

Best Pre-Workouts To Take At Night

The best pre-workouts to take at night are stim-free supplements.  Here is my top pick:

1. Transparent Labs Stim-Free

Transparent Labs Stim Free

At, we’ve tested over 50 pre-workouts, many of which have been stim-free.

At the top of the stim-free list, we recommend Transparent Labs Stim-Free.

If you’re interested in reading why we rate this so highly, check out our complete Transparent Labs Stim-Free Review.

If you don’t have time to read the full review, here are a few noteworthy points:

  • Transparent Labs Stim-Free uses clinical doses for all of its ingredients and uses a blend that has been proven effective in high-quality research studies. This makes Transparent Labs Stim-Free very effective, despite not having any stimulants.
  • The average cost of clinically-dosed pre-workouts is $2.00 per serving. Transparent Labs Stim-Free costs $1.66 per serving, making it an excellent value. 
  • Transparent Labs Stin-Free is third-party certified with clear labels. It’s also naturally sweetened (with stevia) and doesn’t use any food colors or dyes that can negatively impact health.

What Time Of Day Should You Stop Taking Pre-Workout?

Ideally, you should give yourself 5-8 hours between taking pre-workout and your desired bedtime, if your pre-workout contains stimulants like caffeine. 

If your pre-workout is stim-free, aim to take it no later than 2-3 hours before your bedtime.

For example, if your bedtime is 10pm, ideally you would stop taking pre-workout by 5pm (or 7-8pm for a stim-free formula).  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Take Pre-Workout At Night?

Yes, you can take pre-workout at night but you need to be mindful of possible impacts on sleep.  Aim to have at least 2-5 hours between taking pre-workout and your bedtime, and consider stim-free options. 

Implement practices like meditation, soothing tea, or a warm bath to help you fall asleep more easily.

What Happens If You Take Pre-Workout Before Bed?

If you try to take pre-workout immediately before bed you could have a hard time falling asleep, especially if the product contains stimulants like caffeine, taurine, guarana or ginseng. 

Trouble sleeping can lead to more problems like impaired recovery, and lower mood and focus the next day.

Can I Take Pre-Workout At 5pm?

Whether you can take pre-workout at 5pm without interrupting your sleep will depend on your bedtime, if the pre-workout contains stimulants, your personal caffeine metabolism if it does, and any other sources of caffeine in your day. 

Your best bet is to try a smaller serving or opt for a stim-free formula.

How Long Does Pre-Workout Last Before Bed?

For most people, caffeine takes 5 hours to reach 50% levels, so you could still be feeling the effects after 8 hours. 

That said, most of pre-workout’s effects are felt within 1-2 hours and if you opt for a stim-free formula, the pre-workout will last a maximum of 2-3 hours before bed.

Other Pre Workout Resources


Martinez N, Campbell B, Franek M, Buchanan L, Colquhoun R. The effect of acute pre-workout supplementation on power and strength performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Jul 16;13:29. doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0138-7. PMID: 27429596; PMCID: PMC4947244.

Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Kang J, Rashti SL, Faigenbaum AD. Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 27;6:7. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-7. PMID: 19250531; PMCID: PMC2651845.

Baba Y, Inagaki S, Nakagawa S, Kaneko T, Kobayashi M, Takihara T. Effects of l-Theanine on Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Subjects: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study. J Med Food. 2021 Apr;24(4):333-341. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2020.4803. Epub 2021 Mar 22. PMID: 33751906; PMCID: PMC8080935.

Marshall, Geoff J.G. MSc, CSCS; Turner, Anthony N. MSc, CSCS*D. The Importance of Sleep for Athletic Performance. Strength and Conditioning Journal 38(1):p 61-67, February 2016. | DOI: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000189

Boulenger JP, Patel J, Post RM, Parma AM, Marangos PJ. Chronic caffeine consumption increases the number of brain adenosine receptors. Life Sci. 1983 Mar 7;32(10):1135-42. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(83)90119-4. PMID: 6298543.

Shona L. Halson (2008) Nutrition, sleep and recovery, European Journal of Sport Science, 8:2, 119-126, DOI: 10.1080/17461390801954794

Ellenbogen, J. M. (2005). Cognitive benefits of sleep and their loss due to sleep deprivation. Neurology, 64(7), E25-E27. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000164850.68115.81

Thomson, C. A., Morrow, K. L., Flatt, S. W., Wertheim, B. C., Perfect, M. M., Ravia, J. J., Sherwood, N. E., Karanja, N., & Rock, C. L. (2012). Relationship Between Sleep Quality and Quantity and Weight Loss in Women Participating in a Weight-Loss Intervention Trial. Obesity, 20(7), 1419-1425. doi:10.1038/oby.2012.62

Brzezinski, A., Vangel, M. G., Wurtman, R. J., Norrie, G., Zhdanova, I., Ben-Shushan, A., & Ford, I. (2005). Effects of exogenous melatonin on sleep: A meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 9(1), 41-50. ISSN 1087-0792. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2004.06.004.

Potter JD, Robertson SP, Johnson JD. Magnesium and the regulation of muscle contraction. Fed Proc. 1981 Oct;40(12):2653-6. PMID: 7286246.

About The Author

Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement.  Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete.  She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing. 

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I’ve Tested 28+ Pre-Workouts, Here’s My #1 Pick


  • Proven Doses: Ingredients Dosed To Clinical Standards
  • Great Value: 17% Cheaper Than Other Similar Formulas
  • Well-Rounded: Excellent for Pump, Energy, & Strength


  • Proven Doses: Ingredients Dosed To Clinical Standards
  • Great Value: 17% Cheaper Than Other Simliar Formulas
  • Well-Rounded: Excellent for Pump, Energy, & Strength

Read my review