Isn’t it funny how we dreaded bedtime as children and look forward to it as adults? Now it seems to feel like you can never get enough of it, it feels like there simply aren’t enough hours in a day.
If you are trying to achieve certain fitness objectives, you should know that getting enough sleep should be one of your most important goals.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO WE NEED
Not everyone needs eight hours. Some need more. Many can operate well on less. And it still comes down to the quality of sleep: in general, it’s better to get fewer hours of deep, interrupted sleep than more sleep that’s restless or broken up.
While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Create a consistent schedule, and try to stick to it even on weekends, holidays, etc.
- Create a bedtime ritual or routine to wind down.
- Make sure you aren’t hungry or stuffed when you go to bed.
- Cool air may improve your quality of sleep.
- Hours slept before midnight are usually higher quality than those following.
- Make sure the room is dark and quiet.
HOW SLEEP AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS GOALS
- Increased Appetite. You’ll find that when you don’t get enough sleep, your appetite is greatly increased. This is your body trying to find a way to recoup the energy spent during periods of poor sleep and is largely a hormonal response.
- Slower Metabolism. Our metabolism goes into a slump when asleep, as is the same for many other body processes. But the problem with a lack of sleep is that this slump can continue throughout the day.
- Decline At The Gym. If you train regularly then you’ll already know what a bad night’s sleep can do to your training the next day: tired, fatigued, non-committal, and downright dead. But not only can it lead to injuries, but a greater perceived exertion – even though your heart rate and metabolic rate stays the same. And with poor gym days, comes a loss of motivation and added stress.
- Change In Fat Cells. Sleep deprivation can cause our insulin sensitivity to become lower. Insulin is a hormone responsible for absorbing nutrients from food and regulating blood sugar. If insulin sensitivity is poor then we’ll have trouble digesting foods, turning them into fat and storing them in organs like the liver.
- Lowered Immune Function. Sleep provides a necessary rest and recovery for almost every bodily system. The immune system is not an exception. In case you don’t sleep enough, your immune system will experience problems.
- Bad Food Choices. When you haven’t had enough sleep, you’ll not only crave foods that you shouldn’t, but your portion sizes are more likely to be bigger as well. That not only means a risk of obesity and diabetes but derailing your healthy diet altogether. Your brain activity is also lowered, leading to poor choices.
- Reduced Muscle Mass. Simply put, muscles don’t grow in the gym, but when we recover. This recovery takes place while we sleep.
When it comes to working out, you know that what you do in the gym is important. But what you do outside the gym — what you eat, what you drink, and especially how you sleep, is just as crucial. In fact, you must sleep in order for exercise to actually work.
While sleeping well is no guarantee of good health, it does help to maintain many vital functions. One of the most important of these functions may be to provide cells and tissues with the opportunity to recover from the wear and tear of daily life.
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.
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