Why Sleep Is Important for Your Fitness (Our Simple Guide)
Sleep plays a vital role in your fitness journey because it influences how your body functions. If you have bad sleeping habits and don’t get enough rest, you can compromise your workout performance and results.
Do you overlook the importance of quality sleep? Then it’s high time you understood how it can impact your health and fitness.
The Importance of Sleep for Exercise
Have you ever thought about why you’re not seeing a big benefit from your workout? You’re a regular at your gym, eat a balanced diet, and follow a custom fitness program.
The answer could be your sleep.
Like exercise, sleep is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Here’s how getting enough can be beneficial.
Rest and Recovery
It’s a myth that you build muscles when you work out. The muscle repair that turns into muscle growth does not happen during the workout; it occurs during periods of rest.
This process of repairing and adapting to micro-tears to increase muscle mass is called hypertrophy. It’s crucial that you get enough sleep after your workout to allow your muscles to recover so that you’re more likely to come back stronger. If you get the recommended eight hours of sleep, you will feel more energized and build lean muscle faster.
A good night’s rest promotes a healthy balance of hormones, like leptin and ghrelin, which control appetite. The former regulates your body’s energy balance by controlling fat storage and feelings of hunger; the latter boosts appetite, growth, and fat production.
Not getting enough sleep creates an imbalance in these hormone levels which negatively affects your body’s ability to regulate food intake. The result is you’re more likely to consume increased calories during the day, thus leading to weight gain and even obesity.
To perfectly balance appetite and satiety, you need sufficient, restful sleep, as it allows your body to regulate the production of the hormones that control hunger and fat storage.
It’s been found that sleep satisfaction can impact your energy levels. Glycogen, a chemical involved in storing energy in the brain, is restored during sleep. Not getting adequate sleep decreases glycogen levels which can affect your sleep/wake cycle and make you tired during the day. With insufficient sleep (and the fatigue that results), you won’t feel energized enough to exercise.
To give 100% to your workout, you need more energy, performance intensity, and coordination. That’s why you need to sleep for seven to nine hours a night.
Accomplishing your fitness goals requires self-control which requires a lot of effort. But the motivation to work hard and perform better can wilt when you’re sleep-deprived.
Lack of sleep has been linked to poor impulse control, risky decision-making, and impaired response inhibition. In other words, if you’re not getting enough sleep, have inconsistent sleep times and experience insomnia, this may be why you’re not accomplishing your fitness goals.
To see a difference, try changing your sleeping habits and give your workout routine another go. Proper sleep will motivate you to improve your workout and put in more effort to achieve a healthy body and mind.
How to Improve Your Sleep Quality
Once you understand the importance of sleep for exercise, work toward improving your sleep quality to better reap the benefits of your workout. These sleep improvement tips may come in handy.
● Don’t drink too much water or other beverages within two hours of bedtime to avoid bathroom visits that disrupt sleep.
● Reduce blue light exposure from smartphones, laptops or television screens before going to bed. Not doing so tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime, thus affecting your circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle.
● Avoid ingesting caffeine (found in tea, coffee, cola, chocolate and some pain relievers) four to six hours before bedtime. Although consuming alcohol might seem like a great way to bring on sleep, it can act as a stimulant after a few hours, thus decreasing the quality of sleep. Nicotine is another stimulant that should be limited.
● Avoid long, irregular napping during the day. Instead, try to maintain a consistent time to go to bed and wake up. Sleeping during the daytime can confuse your internal clock and negatively impact your nighttime sleep quality.
● Create a sleep-conducive environment by minimizing external noise(try noise-reducing window treatments), keeping your bedroom dark, and setting room temperature to around 65°F (18.3°C).
● Set a relaxing routine before going to bed. This can include reading a book, listening to gentle music, meditating, taking a hot bath, or deep breathing.
No matter how much effort you put into working out, it won’t yield results if you’re not properly rested. Make sure you exercise regularly, eat well, listen to your personal trainer, and get at least eight hours of sleep. Remember: sleep deprivation is an obstacle to your fitness goals.