We all know that recovery and rest are important aspects in regard to exercise and sports. BUT how much of that recovery is done while you’re sleeping? Stretching, myofascial release, drinking water, and eating correctly are all beneficial ways to promote rest and strength. However, few of us realize how much sleep impacts your workout. Insomnia affects every aspect of life, aging, and skill. Many times we don’t consider that the amount of shut eye we get can directly correlate with our performance in the gym and on the playing field!
How Sleep Impacts Your Workout
Based off a study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, athletes made it a goal to get more sleep than they were normally used to. They segued to resting close to ten hours a night and the results speak for themselves. By the end of the study, the athletes were able to sprint faster. The participants also had better hand/eye coordination!
When we don’t get the required amount of sleep that our bodies need each night to rest, there are severe consequences to our recovery. This applies specifically to muscles. Our bodies require the process of protein synthesis to occur while we’re sleeping. This is crucial to rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue. Unfortunately, this process can be hindered when there is a lack of sleep. Injuries can increase with a sleep deficit. Muscles can even begin to atrophy if there is no time in place for sufficient rest.
Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Of course, this can vary depending on your exercise level and how much rest your body needs to adequately recover. Since both our mental and physical statuses are being repaired while we’re sleeping, it’s easy to see how imperative getting enough shut eye is. This is especially true if we’ve got some goals in the gym that we’d like to hit! Remember, sleep impacts your workout.
Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure. Diagnoses of obesity and diabetes are also identified. When we don’t get enough sleep, our brains don’t regenerate like they should. This can cause a delay in concentration. Logically, this is not a good quality when we’re trying to correctly lift a barbell or perform compound movements.
Lastly, when we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies increase inflammation. This is an important factor to consider when planning out your sleep and exercise schedules, because inflammation plays a huge part in decreasing strength within muscles. If you know you’re not able to get enough sleep on the days you are strength training, you might begin to notice a deficit in your lifting numbers!
Working out is fantastic, both for the body and the mind. However, you must pay attention to what time of the day you’re lacing up your sneakers as well. For some people, working out later at night may keep you awake, and throw off your sleep schedule all the way around. Activities that are aerobic in nature (such as running, swimming, biking, etc.) all might be enough to keep your brain awake at night, so see how your body reacts. Try and aim for getting in your exercise at least two hours before bed, so you can wind down. And still enjoy the benefits of sleep!
As another post in our Top PT Tips series , clearly sleep impacts your workout. So hit that pillow. Hard!