The Intimate Relationship Between Fitness and Sleep

When it comes to going to the gym, we know what we do is important to our health and fitness. But we mustn’t forget that what we do outside the gym is just as crucial. What we eat, what we drink, and especially how well we sleep. In fact, we must sleep in order for exercise to work.

We exercise for a purpose, whether it’s particularly for cardiovascular health, tone up and increase muscle mass, improve endurance, all of these goals require sleep.

Sleep gives our body the time to recover, conserve energy, and repair and build up the muscles we worked on at the gym. Getting enough quality sleep means the body produces growth hormones. During our childhood and adolescence, these hormones make us grow, and when we’re older, it helps build lean muscle and helps out bodies repair when we’re sore from a tough workout.

Many of us have issues when it comes to sleep. We neglect to get our seven to eight hours a night, which means we are neglecting our fitness goals too.


Regular Exercise Can Help You Sleep

In a study published by the journal Sleep Medicine, volunteers who self-reported getting less than six and a half hours of sleep then completed moderate-intensity workouts (such as walking, stationary bicycle riding, or running or walking on a treadmill) four times a week for six weeks.

At the conclusion of the experiment, they reported getting an extra 75 minutes of sleep per night, which is better than any sleep assist drug has helped deliver, according to the study.

Exercise and physical activity create adenosine in the brain, which makes us sleepy. (Fun fact: Adenosine is the chemical that caffeine blocks to make you feel more alert.) The harder we work out, the more driven we are by this chemical to sleep.

Working out also helps you maintain your circadian rhythm (that is, your body’s internal clock). Exercise helps your body understand the schedule it’s on; and morning exercise primes your body to sleep better at night.

While exercising much later in the day will possibly keep you awake longer, it’s a matter of choosing the right type of workout, and finding the right workout schedule for you. People who exerted themselves before bed were more efficient sleepers, falling asleep faster, deeper, and waking up during the night less.

Everyone is different when it comes to how stimulating any one particular workout might be. If you have trouble falling asleep, getting your heart rate up too close to bedtime may be contributing to that, but for others, breaking a sweat at the end of the day may not affect sleep.

The better rested you are, the better your mind and body function — and that includes at the gym. Adequate sleep has been proved to help motivate people to stick to their exercise plans and work out the next day. The more sleep time individuals in this study got, the more likely they were to complete their exercise regimen.

Getting enough sleep will give you more drive and determination and the strength to maximise your workout, but it also boosts your concentration, mood, and gives increased focus, making you better prepared for a good workout.

A lack of good sleep will make exercise feel harder. Sleep deprivation will not affect your cardiovascular and respiratory responses to exercise, nor your aerobic and anaerobic performance, muscle strength, or electromechanical responses.

That means biomechanically there’s no reason sleep will lessen your physical capabilities, but you will fatigue faster on less sleep, making it feel tougher to work out to your maximum capacity.

However, getting the required seven to eight hours sleep a night will not turn you into a fitness superstar. Extra sleep won’t make you faster, stronger, or improve your performance. Rather, sleep loss has been linked to physiological responses, such as automatic nervous system imbalances, which produce symptoms similar to overtraining like sore muscles and an increased risk of injury.

Essentially, if you’re not getting the requisite seven to eight hours sleep per night, then it’s time to rethink your schedule to make sure you do, and then figure out how to fit in your regular workouts without sacrificing sleep. You can’t have one without the other, both are essential to be able to operate at 100 per cent, in everyday life, not only at the gym.

If you need a physiotherapist in Maidenhead, then come visit us today.

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