How can Sleep Help You Achieve Your Fitness Aims?

How can Sleep Help You Achieve Your Fitness Aims?

Published - 9th Jan

How can Sleep Help You Achieve Your Fitness Aims?
Around one third of people in Britain do not get enough sleep, according to the NHS, which is a wake up call to the importance of making quality sleep a priority. Nothing beats that feeling of waking up with a bounce in your step and all the energy you need to shine at work and the gym. If you are currently a regular at Riviera Centre’s Lifestyle Health & Fitness Suite, then you know how empowering and enjoyable a workout can be. Stick to your routine and aim for ever more challenging goals by ensuring you get a good night’s sleep!

How can Sleep Hamper Your Workout?
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that the relationship between sleep and exercise is bi-directional. That is, exercise improves sleep quality and mood, but it also works the other way around; the amount you sleep affects the quality of your workout the next day. Research also indicates that a reducing in sleep quantity and quality can result in an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system (which regulates the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate etc), simulating symptoms of ‘overtraining syndrome’. Thus, when you are sleep-deprived, your muscles may feel sore and you may have a higher injury rate, thus stopping you from achieving your full potential.

Sleep and Muscle Growth
In case you thought that getting restful sleep simply involved sleeping for seven or eight hours, think again. Sleep quality is as important as quantity. In order to feel refreshed instead of fatigued when we wake up in the morning, we need to have made our way through all sleep cycles – including the restorative ‘deep sleep’ stage. During this stage, our body produces more of the crucial Human Growth Hormone (HGH) than when we are awake. Bodybuilders will know how important HGH is to help them achieve their goals. HGH helps build muscle mass, boost metabolism, and burn fat. It also keeps your skin looking young, since it promotes cell regeneration. Make sleep quality a priority by sticking to a nightly bedtime routine and by designing a bedroom that is truly conducive to sleep. Your mattress or topper should possess the right firmness to prevent and reduce back and shoulder pain. Your bedroom should be completely dark, cool, and silent, to enable you to achieve the state of sleepiness.

Sleep and Calorie Consumption
Sleep can help or hinder our weight loss and fitness efforts in another way: by inadvertently leading us to pack on the pounds. A 2016 study by scientists at King’s College London found that when we are sleep deprived, we consume an average of 385 more calories the next day. If sleep deprivation becomes chronic, it can result in weight gain. Researchers stressed that sleep deprivation “is one of the most common and modifiable health risks” in modern society. Part of the reason is that when we don’t get enough rest, there is greater activation of the parts of the brain associated with reward. Thus, we experience a greater motivation to seek food. Another explanation is that failing to sleep in line with the body’s circadian rhythms (or ‘internal clock’) affects our satiety and hunger hormones, thus leading us to eat more than we actually need to.

In this post, we have mentioned findings on the link between good sleep and fitness, but the mental effects of sleep deprivation should not be ignored. Failing to get enough rest results in moodiness, lack of motivation, and a higher risk of mental conditions like anxiety. To perform at your optimal best, make sleep a priority it deserves, aiming to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a day and ensuring your room is so comfortable that you do not toss and turn and hamper your sleep quality.


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