The Effects of Sleep on Your Workout
So you’ve been doing all of your exercises properly, you’re eating all the right food, and you’re using all of the best supplements to aid your fitness goals. However, for some reason, you’re just not seeing the gains you want. Where are you going wrong? The answer might actually be simpler than you think: You’re just not getting enough sleep. Whether you’re aware of it or not, sleep has a big impact on the results of your workout. Here we’ll discuss the effects of sleep on muscle growth, workout performance, and how to get a better night’s sleep.
Effects of Sleep on Muscle Growth
Going to the gym is only half the battle when it comes to muscle building. The other half is the recovery phase, and sleep is every bit as much a part of post-workout recovery as taking your protein shake. Everyone knows that sleep gives your body and mind a chance to rest, but it also does a few things to aid in muscle recovery. One of these things is the release of anabolic hormones like testosterone. As everyone knows, testosterone plays a pretty big role in muscle growth. So if you’re looking to build muscle, you should make sure to get a good night’s sleep, because poor sleeping habits can lead to testosterone being released much more slowly into your body, which means your muscles will be repaired at a much slower rate, leading to slower muscle gains. To make matters worse, studies show that people who get very little sleep end up having lower levels of testosterone than normal.
Additionally, sleep also helps to reduce the rate of muscle breakdown, aka catabolism. Catabolism is largely caused by a hormone called cortisol, and the cortisol levels in your body are elevated whenever you aren’t getting any proper sleep. And don’t think that you can reduce your cortisol levels with a nap during the day, as the secretion of cortisol is tied to the circadian rhythm, better known as your body’s internal clock. Your body secretes more cortisol during the day, which then levels out more at night, so you’ll more effectively reduce your cortisol levels getting some proper sleep at night than sleeping during the day.
Effects of Sleeping on Performance
It goes without saying that if you want to get any sort of results from your workout, you’ll need to be at the top of your game. Unfortunately, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you could be hampering your performance in the gym. It’s pretty much a given that a lack of sleep will result in you feel feeling more fatigued more often, and that fatigue will show during your workouts. You might feel that the weights that you’ve been lifting with relative ease last week are now suddenly much more difficult for you to manage. You could try and power through instead of lowering the weight, but then you’ll just tire yourself out faster. In addition, scientists have found that people who don’t get enough sleep experience a decrease in reaction time and alertness, which is largely the result of lowered mental and motor skill capacity. This greatly increases the chances of you making a mistake, and how often you’re going to be making those mistakes, which in turn could lead to an increased risk of injury.
This drop in performance is also tied to the effects of sleep on your body’s ability to metabolize glucose. Glucose is one of the biggest sources of energy your body uses during exercise to keep itself going. A lack of sleep has the unwanted side effect of hampering your body’s ability metabolize glucose for energy, leading to you burning through whatever energy you do have faster than it can be replenished, leading to you getting fatigued much quicker than normal. All of this is bad news for your workout performance, so make sure you get plenty of sleep if you want to maintain a high level of performance.
How to More Easily Fall Asleep
Now that you know how sleep affects your workout and its results, you may be anxious to know how to fall asleep more easily. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to accomplish this. Firstly, if you have any nearby electronics on hand, try to stay away from them before you go to bed. Studies have shown that using electronics before you go to sleep reduces the melatonin levels in your body. Melatonin is an important chemical that helps you to sleep, so a reduced level of it is never good for sleep. Another simple way to get a better night’s sleep is to make sure that your room’s as dark as possible when you go to sleep. This is because the light in your room will go through your eyelids, into your retina, and mess with the hypothalamus (the part of your brain that controls sleep), disrupting your sleep. And finally, don’t consume any caffeine or caffeine products at night. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant, so it should go without saying that taking any of the stuff before bed would mess up your sleep. If you follow these simple tips, you should be getting a good nights sleep much more easily.