How important is sleep when it comes to working out?
Besides the obvious answer, sleep is crucial. Not only does sleep affect your mood and mental state, it also has a serious impact on your body, the various processes it carries out and its performance.
Approximately 30% of Americans don’t get an adequate amount of sleep. Not only are they not sleeping enough ( the recommended 6-8 hours) but the actual quality of the sleep they get isn’t the best. This sets off a domino effect in the human body.
Let’s take a closer look at what actually happens when you sleep. While you might be completely out of it in dreamland, your body and mind are hard at work. While you sleep your brain is busy sorting through and storing all the information from the day. Whether that's making memories or saving key information from what you learned that day ready to be used at a later time. Not getting enough sleep has also been linked to poor mental health, and that's no surprise given that when you are sleep deprived you are just not in a good mood or up for much for that matter. The impact of not getting enough sleep goes beyond feeling tired & draggy.
While you’re snoozing your body is working extra hard. From decreasing cortisol (stress hormone) levels helping you feel more chipper and energized & less stressed, down to your immune system ensuring that you’re protected and ready to fight off illness and viruses. All while simultaneously repairing tissue, fighting off inflammation and even trauma. During sleep your body is also boosting HGH production. Also known as human growth hormone, yes the same one that helps you grow & develop during childhood and the teenage years is now responsible for building lean muscle mass and repairing the muscle that was stressed during the day's workout or normal wear and tear. Not getting enough sleep interrupts these processes which not only limits how hard and far you can push yourself during a workout but also how your body responds to the physical demands from those activities. So even if you “feel” okay and are to push through and “crush” your work out it will feel way harder and your body won't reap all of the benefits whether that's gaining muscle mass or weight loss.
Speaking of weight loss, did you know that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain? That’s because the hunger hormone is greatly impacted by sleep or lack thereof, resulting in adults that overeat or don’t feel as satisfied after eating because of this disruption, resulting in consuming additional calories that contribute to weight gain.
In conclusion, sleep is key for the proper functioning of the body and mind. It is just as important if not more than physical activity, diet & nutrition. Give it the importance it requires and get to snoozing. It's the easiest way to help you reach your goals.