Both sleep and physical activity play an essential role in your overall health. If you’re working out regularly, you certainly know the benefits of hitting the gym, jogging, and other similar activities.
But are you getting enough sleep every day? Insufficient or poor-quality sleep can negatively affect your health in numerous ways. It can also impact your workout. Let’s find out how.
Improving Strength and Workout Intensity
Lack of sleep can affect your perception of tolerance for prolonged exercise. It can make you fatigue faster and make it feel more challenging to complete your workout.
Many studies have confirmed this, such as one by the American College of Sports Medicine. The study found that working out after a night of poor sleep negatively affects endurance, strength, performance, and workout intensity. The participants had trouble engaging in any physical activity due to their lack of energy.
Muscles store glycogen, a form of glucose, which your body uses as energy. When you have low glycogen levels, you feel tired and lack the energy for completing even simple house chores, let alone work out.
Now, the ACSM study found something quite interesting. The participants’ glycogen levels hadn’t been low after a night of insufficient sleep, yet their muscles were exhausted. They had the energy, but lack of sleep had tricked their body into thinking its energy had run out.
So, a good night’s rest can help you exercise without any obstacles and enhance your strength and workout intensity.
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Boosting Athletic Performance
Since quality sleep can provide you with more energy and improve your endurance, it goes without saying that it can improve your overall athletic performance as well.
It can help you perform high-intensity workouts and bring your A-game every time you engage in physical activity. It can improve your coordination and strength, both physical and mental.
If you run or jog regularly, enough sleep can make you faster, all because of that extra energy that your body replenishes during sleep. That’s why recommended 7-8 hours of sleep is crucial.
Increasing Focus, Accuracy, and Recovery
Sleep can improve your cognitive functions and help you do your workouts with more focus and accuracy.
According to a study on sleep and metabolite clearance, sleep plays a significant role in ensuring metabolic homeostasis. It has a vital function and helps your brain eliminate neurotoxins from the central nervous system.
That’s how it improves your focus, alertness, and memory. A few extra hours of sleep can even improve your reaction time, which can be crucial in various sports, such as basketball.
Since it helps your brain remove neurotoxic waste and restore energy, sleep helps your body recover faster. If you don’t get enough sleep after a day of working out, your body may not recover fully for another workout the next day.
That’s because your body releases human growth hormone and synthesizes protein while you sleep. Both are essential for muscle repair and growth, as well as for strengthening your bones. Lack of sleep means lower levels of growth hormone, which leads to slower muscle recovery.
Reducing the Risk of Injury
This is closely related to the previous point regarding recovery. When you get a good night’s rest, allowing your body to recover and replenish energy, you decrease your injury risk.
You help your body improve muscle memory and build the necessary protein for staying strong and healthy. You help it repair tissues, ligaments, and tendons and build strong bones.
All of this reduces your chances of straining a muscle or hurting yourself in some other way due to poor coordination or decreased alertness.
As already mentioned, your reaction time gets better with quality sleep, helping you stay injury-free.
Boosting Mood and Motivation
Last but not least, enough high-quality sleep can improve your mood and motivate you to complete your workouts effectively. It can encourage you to do anything. Waking up fresh and well-rested can make you enthusiastic about seizing the day.
That’s because sleep helps your body regulate stress hormones and lower blood pressure. Lack of sleep increases stress hormones, such as cortisol.
Sleep can also increase your serotonin, one of the so-called “happy” hormones. As you may know, exercise boosts the production of all “feel-good” hormones, including serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. So, when you combine workouts with high-quality sleep, you’ll feel happier and ready to take on the world.
You’ve learned by now that sleep is a vital activity for your overall health and not just for boosting your workouts. So, sacrificing sleep to fit a workout into your morning routine may not be particularly wise.
It’s better to get some extra sleep if you haven’t been getting enough of it than to get up early to hit the gym. You wouldn’t get the desired workout results, and you would only tire your body even more.
Find a way to fit both workouts and quality sleep into your schedule, and you’ll experience all the benefits above.
By Liz Thomson