Understanding The Relationship Between Fitness And Sleep
Going to the gym or participating in some type of physical activity each day is essential. What you may not realize is everything you do outside the gym — what you drink and eat and how well you sleep — is also necessary. If you want all your hard work at the gym to pay off, sleep is a must.
Put it simply, if you do not sleep, exercise will not deliver the desired benefits.
The impact and role of sleep
Sleep is when your body has time to recover, repair, conserve energy, and build the muscles that were broken down during a workout. When you get good quality sleep, your body also produces growth hormone. During adolescence and childhood, growth hormone is what makes you grow – just as the name implies. When you age, the growth hormone in your body has a new job. Now, it helps you build lean muscle and helps your body repair itself after a workout. What this means is that growth hormone is essential for full athletic recovery.
One of the most significant issues is that many Americans have serious problems when it comes to sleep. Over 30% of people are actually sleep-deprived. This means you don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night. This also means that more than 108 million people in the U.S. are hurting their ability to reach fitness goals!
Regular exercise will help you get better sleep
If you never experienced the self-inducing exhaustion provided by a day of hiking or even a boot camp class at 5 AM, there is a lot of scientific research that backs this up. A recent study that appeared in the “Sleep Medicine” journal stated that those who slept for under 6.5 hours completed workouts that were of moderate-intensity (i.e., walking on a treadmill, bicycling, or walking) four times a week for a period of six weeks. When the experiment concluded, they reported that they got an additional 75 minutes of sleep per night – which is more than any medication has ever delivered.
Something else that many people do not realize is that exercise has a chemical effect on your brain. When you are physically active, adenosine is created in the brain. This causes you to feel sleepy. Something else that makes adenosine impressive is that it is the chemical that caffeine blocks, causing you to feel more alert. The harder that you work out, the more driven you are to go to sleep.
When you work out, you are fine-tuning your body’s internal clock. By exercising, you can feel confident your body understands the schedule you are on. Exercising in the morning gets your body ready to get better rest at night. That creates the question – what about exercising later in the day? While it is possible that exercising at night will result in you staying awake longer, science says that it is important to find the right type of workout and to find the best workout schedule.
People who exercise more right before bed reported being more efficient sleepers. It was also reported they were able to get to sleep faster, slept much deeper, and did not wake up as much throughout the night. Some reports have stated exercising right before bed can also reduce cases of anxiety, which may prevent someone from falling asleep or staying asleep.
While this is true, you are probably better off sticking with lower intensity workouts, such as barre, Pilates, and yoga, if you are planning to exercise right before bed. It is a good idea to find a workout that is right for you, your body, and your level. Not everyone is at the same level, so keep this in mind. If you are having issues falling asleep, exercising right before bed, and elevating your heart rate may not be a good idea. However, for other people, sweating in the evening will not have any effect on how they sleep.
Sleep and working out
Usually, getting more sleep is going to help you get more from your workout. When you get plenty of rest, your body and mind function better. This includes while you are at the gym. A proper sleep schedule has been proved to help people finish their entire exercise regimen. Making sure you get plenty of sleep will give you more strength and drive for your workout, but it also helps to improve your overall level of focus, mood, and even your concentration. You will also be more prepared for your workout the next day.
However, if you do not get the sleep you need, it can make exercising feel more difficult. While sleep deprivation does not affect your respiratory or cardiovascular response to exercising, you will get tired much faster. This is going to make it more challenging to work out at superior levels. Even if you do not sleep well just one night, it can impact your overall performance and endurance when you get on the treadmill.
Workout or sleep in?
With all the information above, you see how important it is to get plenty of sleep. However, working out in the morning is also recommended. While both of these are important, you may wonder which one should be a priority. You should never put yourself in this position because you need both of these. However, if you find it impossible to find a good balance, sleep should always be a priority. Without enough sleep, you will find many day-to-day activities challenging.
Get enough sleep for a great workout
If you want to get a great workout, getting plenty of sleep is a must. Be sure to keep the information here in mind to make the most of your time in the gym and that you are giving your body plenty of time to rest and recover!
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