If you work out regularly, then you will be well aware of the impact of what you do in the gym or at home on your fitness. You will no doubt have spent lots of time developing the perfect exercise plan to achieve the fitness goals you are after and get healthier. While this is obviously important, all your hard work will be undone if you are not getting enough sleep.
Sleep has a massive impact on fitness and vice versa. Even if you do not exercise regularly, sleep will still play a major role in how healthy you are overall. With this in mind, it is therefore vital to understand how central sleep is to staying as fit as you can.
How does sleep affect fitness?
This may surprise you, but a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 30% of people in the US are sleep-deprived. When you think of what the figures may be on a global scale in relation to this, it is obviously an area on which we all need to focus. The recommended amount of sleep is between seven and eight hours per night. Here are a few reasons why it is so crucial to fitness:
- Weight gain – not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain. This is not good for your health as it can lead to serious conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems. When you do not sleep enough, hormones in your body make you hungrier than normal when you wake up. This leads to overeating during the day and sees the weight pile on. Naturally, putting on weight will also lead to a poorer performance when you hit the gym.
- Performance – whether it is performance at work or at the gym, lack of sleep will have a negative impact. You will have less energy to perform to your best and less motivation to do things such as exercise. In terms of fitness, this is bad because you will not get the maximum out of your workouts and you’ll be more tempted to slob out on the couch instead.
- Helps body to recover – sleep is key for fitness as it gives your body precious time to recover and repair. Proper sleep will allow your muscles to rest after your exercise sessions and deliver growth hormones to the body to help them grow stronger.
How does fitness affect your sleep?
We have seen the ways that sleep affects your fitness, but how does it work the other way around? The below shows just why staying fit can aid your sleep:
- Promotes better sleep – a recent study from Sleep Medicine found that when people who usually sleep for 6.5 hours per night indulged in moderate exercise, they then slept an extra 75 minutes each night. This shows the effect that exercise can have on sleep. Getting fit basically tires you out, so you are ready to nod off when you get into bed.
- Calms the mind – there is nothing like hitting the gym to get rid of the day’s stress and worry. This is also great for your sleeping pattern as it means that you do not have anything on your mind later to keep you up.
- Controls circadian rhythm – inside your body is a clever system called the circadian rhythm. This is your body’s internal clock that controls when you are active and when you feel the need to sleep. By keeping fit, you also keep this rhythm in good shape, so you feel tired come bedtime.
How to get better sleep
If getting enough sleep is so important for fitness and health, then how do you make sure that you achieve that? As above, a good start is to exercise regularly to help promote better sleep. However, there are other things inside your bedroom that can also help here. The mattress that you sleep on, for example, is hugely important. Your mattress should not only support you and feel comfortable but should also keep you at the right temperature for a good night’s sleep. NFL star Tom Brady uses a top-quality cooling mattress to get the best night’s sleep he can. Other great tips here are to remove any tech gadgets from your bedroom and make sure that the room is designed in a way that is relaxing to aid sleep.
Sleep and fitness are mutually important
It really is hard not to overstate how closely aligned sleep and fitness are. Getting one sorted will have a positive effect on the other to make your life a whole lot better. It is certainly a bad idea to neglect your sleep when thinking about this, which makes getting your eight hours each night key to health.