We all know how important sleep is for losing weight and overall health, but did you know that how well you sleep can affect your time in the gym? Yep, getting quality ZZZs can really improve your workouts, and in return, your workout will improve your sleep! Quite the positive catch-22, huh?
Here’s How Sleep Helps Your Workout
1. Sleep repairs your muscles. When you sleep, your body actually works to repair any stress in your muscles that were caused during your exercise session. Especially if you train hard or are lifting heavy weights, your body needs more sleep and rest to recover.
2. Sleep keeps you alert during your workout. Getting good, quality sleep leaves you refreshed, focused and energized for your day. When you’re doing any workout — strength or cardio — you want to make sure you’ve had at least seven to nine hours of sleep so that your muscles can perform properly.
3. Sleep boosts metabolism. When you don’t get enough ZZZs, your body doesn’t process glucose as well and therefore your brain doesn’t have as much energy to fuel it. This can affect your performance at the gym and make you more prone to injury and accidents as your concentration is reduced.
Here’s How Workouts Help Your Sleep
1. Workouts reduce stress. How many nights have you not been able to sleep because you are stressed and have racing thoughts over something that happened that day or worrying about what’s to come tomorrow? Exercise is known to reduce stress, so it’s natural that when you burn that anxiety off with exercise, you’re more likely to sleep soundly.
2. Workouts release dopamine. When you do a high-intensity workout, you cause your muscles to fatigue. When this happens, your body increases dopamine, which helps you relax and sleep.
3. Workouts increase deep sleep. According to research, exercise can increase the amount of time that you spend in the deepest stages of sleep. In deep sleep, your body repairs itself and builds up energy for the day ahead. Deep sleep plays a major role in maintaining your health, stimulating growth and development, repairing muscles and tissues and boosting your immune system.
It’s important to note that intense exercising just before bed isn’t the best idea because the endorphin rush may keep you awake (the opposite of your goal!). Either work out at least three hours before bedtime or choose a relaxing form of exercise before bed, such as yoga or tai chi. Enjoy those ZZZs!
November 5th, 2010