We all know that exercise is essential to our general health, and the work that we do in the gym is crucial to gaining and maintaining a better quality of fitness. However, what you do outside the gym may be crucial too. What you eat, how you think, and even the things that you drink can make or break your chances of reaching your health goals. One of the most important external factors that influence the quality of your workout is your sleep habits.
Sleep is more than just a way to shut down at the end of a long day. When we go to sleep each night, our bodies use that time to recover from the challenges of the day, build the muscles created during exercise, and replenish energy sources. With enough high-quality sleep, your body can also begin to produce growth hormone – a substance that’s crucial for athletic recovery.
Unfortunately, most of today’s adults have a significant problem with sleep. A large percentage of us are constantly sleep deprived, and there are plenty of individuals around the world who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia.
Here’s what you need to know about how the amount of sleep you get affects your fitness.
How Getting Better Sleep Helps Your Workout
Just as exercising regularly can help you to sleep better at night, a good night of quality rest can also improve your performance when you exercise. The more you sleep, the better your mind and body will function. That’s true whether you’re working or going to the gym. Adequate sleep also improves your chances of remaining motivated when your exercise strategy gets tough, so you continue to work out day after day. According to one study published by the Journal of Sleep Medicine, the more sleep people in the study got, the more likely they were to complete their fitness routine.
Getting enough sleep not only gives you more strength and drive to help maximize the quality of your workout but it also affects your mood, concentration, focus and even your skin. Thin in turn makes you more efficient during your workout. On the flip side, if you’re not getting enough rest each day then your exercise routine seems to become a lot more difficult. Although sleep deprivation might not make your exercise experience more difficult from a physical perspective, it does mean that you get fatigued faster. The more fatigued you feel, the less likely you are to perform at your best.
Crucially, it’s important to understand that getting the right amount of sleep every night won’t automatically turn you into a professional athlete. The right amount nor quality of sleep doesn’t make you stronger or faster, but it does mean that you can perform more effectively when you’re exercising. This means that you’ll be able to train more and work harder to reach your fitness goals.
Should You Prioritize Sleep or Fitness?
Getting the right amount of exercise into your routine and the right amount of sleep are both important. That means it is often difficult to decide which one should take priority in your life. Ideally, you ought to find enough time in your schedule to get the right amount of both sleep and exercise. However, it’s not always possible to get the balance that we want. If you’re struggling and you need to make the decision on whether to go for an extra hour in the gym or an extra hour in bed, sleep should usually win out.
Unless your sleep is almost always sound when it comes to quantity and quality, then put rest first. If you’ve already had 8 or so hours of sleep, then there’s nothing wrong with getting up and going to the gym. However, if you’ve been clocking six hours or less of quality rest each night, then you might need to savour the extra sleep that’s available to you, rather than going straight to the gym on a Saturday morning. Lack of sleep can also decrease your willpower and increases your appetite which can make you eat more unhealthy food. You may end up sleeping after eating rather than hitting the gym
Regularly visiting the gym and working on your exercise routines will help improve your health and fitness. However, you will need to make sure that you’re also getting the right amount and quality of sleep if you want to reach your fitness goals as quickly as possible.