Getting enough sleep is critical for everyone to function properly, but especially for those who are working out regularly and actively aiming toward sculpting their bodies.
When you want to make sure you are well set up for your exercise routine, don’t overlook the importance of getting enough sleep in addition to eating the proper foods and living a generally healthy lifestyle.
It’s funny that exercise is one factor that helps promote healthy sleep – but it works the other way around too!
Healthy sleep habits are a very important aspect of anybody’s exercise routine. Here’s what sleep can to do benefit your body and your workout performance.
Sleep Promotes Energy
The most obvious benefit to getting enough sleep is that it offers your body the energy you need to work out during the day.
People who get less sleep are simply trying to function to the status quo and are not giving their bodies enough fuel to get through a proper workout.
When you’ve slept well, you’ll notice that you are less fatigued and more able to exercise to your greatest capacity.
Sleep Improves Muscle Building
People who don’t sleep well are obviously more tired than those who do.
However, fatigue is not the only reason workouts are difficult for people who struggle to sleep.
Researchers have shown that people who are lacking in sleep often experience a decrease in their body’s ability to repair muscle.
Lack of sleep can be related to muscle loss and fatigue, because your body repairs muscle while you are sleeping.
Make sure you’re getting enough z’s every day in order to best maintain or increase your muscle mass.
Sleep Helps with Recovery from Exercise
Growth hormone (which helps the body to recover from working out) is slowed in production when a person is deprived of appropriate sleep.
In addition, the stress hormone, cortisol, is increased in people who don’t sleep enough—and cortisol is a killer of growth hormone.
More lost sleep means more cortisol production, which means less growth hormone. And the cycle continues.
Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night will not only increase your workout capacity, but will also help you recover and heal faster with a higher production of growth hormones.
Sleep Lowers Food Cravings
Different hormones are involved with the process of food cravings, including leptin and ghrelin.
These hormones trigger a feeling of emptiness in the stomach, stimulation of hunger, and a reduction in the metabolism.
Cortisol is another hormone that is associated with fat gain as well as with an increase in food cravings.
Sleep loss can be a direct contributor to the inability to control these hormones, which makes it difficult to stay fit and healthy. When you get enough sleep, you’ll have cravings for healthy foods rather than sugary, quick-fix empty calories.
Sleep Increases Cognitive Function
Sleep deprivation makes the brain function somewhat in the same way as it does when you are drunk.
Even just one night of compromised sleep can cause your brain to make all kinds of unwise decisions.
As complex decision-making is impaired due to sleep deprivation, self-control becomes even more difficult than it would be otherwise.
And if you’re not thinking straight, it’s harder to get “in the zone” while you’re working out.
Sleep deprivation can cause you to be lacking in self-discipline, which can result in skipping out on reps, or even missing workouts altogether.
Sleep Decreases Injury Risk
When you’re sleep deprived and your brain isn’t working, it’s much easier to get hurt during your workout. Studies have shown that the hours of sleep athletes receive can be directly associated with the amount of injuries they experience, especially for adolescents.
Sleeping more means less time away for recovering from injuries.
Sleep Boosts Testosterone
This strength hormone isn’t just for males. As testosterone increases, so does the capacity for building muscle mass as well as strengthening bones.
Sleep increases the body’s ability to produce testosterone which has a positive effect on your workout regimen.
Sleep Boosts Overall Exercise Performance
Getting an extra few winks could give you a huge boost when it comes to reaching your peak performance.
One study of a college basketball team showed that players adding an average of two hours of sleep per night were able to increase their speed, reflexes, free throw accuracy, and even happiness.
If you’ve hit a plateau and can’t seem to get any further in reaching your personal best or losing an extra few inches of fat, it may be simpler than you think.
Strike a healthy sleep regimen into your life and you may very soon find yourself going the extra mile, increasing your stats, and beating your personal bests in no time.
Sleep Issues and Healthy Habits
Are you struggling to sleep at night like you should?
Perhaps you’re unaware that you may be struggling with a specific medical condition that affects sleep.
Learning about all of the different sleep disorders and identifying which one might be affecting you is a great place to start.
You might be surprised to find out that one of these disorders is affecting you – and it might be easier than you think to correct the situation.
In general though, you should be sure to practice healthy sleeping habits to give yourself the best chance at a good nights sleep.
Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day is the best practice for healthy sleep.
Leave yourself time after working out before going to sleep (at least a couple of hours—morning workouts are best!) Get enough exposure to daylight and keep your bedroom cool, dark, and comfortable.