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Fitness

Why Sleep is Important to Your Exercise Routine?

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Exercising can transform your life in so many ways! However, when it comes to working out, it's not only important what you do at the gym. What you do in everyday life counts a lot, too. Healthy habits are crucial for your overall fitness and getting the desired effect from your workout. You are probably aware of the negative impact of eating and drinking unhealthy food, but sleep is important to your exercise routine, too. It's probably more important than anything else, and we're about to explain why.


The science of sleep


You probably wondered many times how we sleep. In fact, scientists are still researching it, and there are different debates about how much time adults should spend sleeping. There are two main theories - one that talks about five sleep cycles during the night while the other one, which is the one you probably know of, talks about an eight-hour sleep.


Two women stretching
A good night's sleep is important for both our physical and mental health.

There are two phases of sleep:


● NREM (non-rapid eye movement) - the light sleep which deepens.

● REM (rapid eye movement) - the deep sleep phase when dreaming occurs.

We all should be trying to get seven to nine hours of quality sleep during the night.


Why is sleeping important?


You probably heard hundreds of times that sleep is essential. If you don't know why, here are just some of the reasons:


● sleep gives your body recovery time

● by sleeping, we conserve energy

● our body produces growth hormones when getting enough good sleep

● we feel more alert after a good night's sleep which helps us focus and improves our mood

● sleeping is crucial for central nervous system regulation

● it regulates the brain function

● sufficient sleep has a positive effect on our immune system...

... and the list continues as there are many more reasons why sleeping is so beneficial and good for us. So if you can find the time to exercise regularly or even binge on your favorite TV show, you can surely find enough time to sleep.


Woman stretching in bed after a good night's sleep.
When we have enough sleep, we wake up filled with positive energy and in a good mood.

What happens to you if you are sleep-deprived?


We've learned how sleep positively influences our bodies and mind. But, to make you seriously change your bad sleeping habits, here are just some of the things that might happen to your body if you don't get enough sleep:


● chronic lack of sleep puts us at risk of serious medical conditions - diabetes, obesity, and heart disease

● sleep deprivation makes your body produce cortisol (stress hormone)

● you are at risk of high blood pressure

● it reduces concentration, slows your thinking, and causes mood changes

Nowadays, we live faster, and due to our stressful and long working hours, we don't really pay attention to what our body is telling us. The devastating fact is that over 51% of the adult population all over the world reports that, on average, they don't get enough sleep. If you are one of them, it's time to change and start sleeping more.


Why is exercising important?


Exercising is very beneficial and can do so much for you! By exercising regularly, not only will you have a fantastic figure, but you'll also feel better and more energized. By exercising, you combat health conditions and diseases while also improving your mood. Our general well-being and exercise are very much connected!


Regardless if you are going to the gym or working out at home, we strongly urge you to continue with this healthy habit. It's completely understandable that exercising can get boring from time to time and if that happens to you, don't give up but try to find another activity.


However, make sure to keep your old equipment as you might start doing the same exercises again after a while. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to handle equipment you no longer use, like keeping it in a safe storage facility. That way, your exercising tools will be waiting for you to start using them again, and they'll be in perfect condition.


The relationship between exercising and sleeping


We've established that both exercising and sleeping are very important for your wellbeing - physical as well as mental. They are crucial components of a healthy lifestyle.


Therefore, sleeping and exercising are very much connected, and they depend on each other in so many ways.

How does sleep help exercise?


Sleep is important to your exercise routine. It is even more important than what you eat before and after you exercise! You are about to find out some of the reasons why.

We already mentioned that sleep is when the concentration of growth hormones is highest. This is not only important for children going through a growth spurt. Adults benefit from it in many ways, too. If you thought muscles are being built at the gym, you're terribly wrong. Growth hormones are the key for athletic recovery, which means that, while we sleep, our muscles are being built and our body regenerated.


A woman doing yoga in an apartment
Sleeping influences our performance. If you sleep well, you'll have more energy and focus to successfully complete your workout.

When you exercise and overall have an active lifestyle, your body needs more rest. When you feel rested, you will have more energy, and your body and mind will be able to work on a higher level. You'll perform better in every single way.


Although sleeping better will not turn you into a sports superstar, sleeping less will highly influence your performance. The lack of sleep is connected to our autonomic nervous system imbalances. Plus, you have a higher risk of injury because you won't be able to concentrate and focus enough.


How does exercise help sleep?


And lastly, let's find out how exercising helps you sleep better.


If you work out regularly, at some point, you've probably experienced sleep-inducing exhaustion. There is a good explanation for this - working out has a chemical effect on the brain! Adenosine is being created more - the more adenosine in the brain, the sleepier you get. It's as simple as that! Interestingly, caffeine blocks adenosine, and that's how it helps us stay awake.


You might have experienced that exercising late keeps you up longer. This can be true, but in order to change that, you just have to adjust your workout and slightly change the routine. For example, try replacing cardio training with yoga or pilates.

If you are exhausted before going to bed, you will sleep better - this has been scientifically proven. You'll fall asleep faster and wake up less during the night as you'll be sleeping deeper.


Therefore, make sure to catch up on your sleep. Not only will it help you build muscles and exercise better, but it will also have a massive effect on your health and well-being. Hopefully, we were able to convince you to pay more attention to your sleeping habits. Now stop reading and go to bed.

 
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