How Sleep Can Change Your Life
Workouts are a great contribution to your health. They improve cardiovascular health and increase strength and endurance. And of course, everyone is familiar with the feeling of breaking their own limits and getting better after every good training session. But there’s something you should not forget about…
Exercise and sleep to change your life
Seventy-five percent of the overall workout success comes from the things we do outside the gym: our nutrition, daily levels of activity, and most importantly, quality sleep.
How does sleep affect progress in your workouts? What benefits will it give you if you try to get lean or, on the contrary, gain muscle mass? And how to correctly set priorities between sleep and workouts when you don’t have time for both?
Keep reading to find out.
How Workouts Will Help You Sleep Better and Change Your Life
There are several ways in which working out can affect the quality of your sleep.
Let’s talk about them.
- Increased deep sleep duration. It has been proven that people who are exercising at least half an hour a day, in general, have a deeper and longer sleep. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be a gym workout. Jogging, cycling, yoga, jumping rope or even an average walk around the block is enough.
- Circadian rhythms reset. Working out also has a great influence on your “biological clock”. Morning intense activity increases body temperature and triggers some important processes in our body. For example, it has been proven that exercise helps regulate the work of the gastrointestinal tract and support the immune system.
Now, don’t forget about the benefits for the brain.
During a workout, our brain is receiving a neurochemical cocktail of the following substances:
- Serotonin. Alternatively known as “the happy chemical”, serotonin greatly influences our happiness levels. Its deficiency is one of the key causes of depressive disorders, anxiety, and apathy.
- Endorphins. Often referred to as our natural painkillers, they reduce stress and pain levels.
- It triggers our brain’s rewarding system. This is what makes gym workouts somehow addictive.
- Norepinephrine. This one is responsible for muscle pumping during the exercises.
Here comes the fun fact:
In addition to the substances mentioned above, physical activity also allows the brain to synthesize adenosine, which is one of the inhibitory neurotransmitters that make us drowsy and allows us to fall asleep faster.
“It is the adenosine receptors that we block in the mornings with our espresso shots in order to feel more alive.”
Now, previously, it was thought that evening workouts before bedtime could lead to overstimulation of the nervous system. It turns out that this is not entirely true.
The studies conducted on this topic did not confirm a significant difference between the quality of sleep in people who were intensively exercising before sleep and those who didn’t.
Moreover, if we go back to the abovementioned circadian rhythm, it turns out that the best time for working out falls on the evening hours, or, to be precise, between 6 and 7 p.m.
How Good Sleep May Improve Your Workouts
No matter what purpose you are working out for, whether it’s to gain mass or to get lean, sleep can provide significant support in moving towards your goals. Sleep is beneficial and so it would be great if you identify some DIY to fall asleep quickly.
Here are just a few examples of its benefits.
The release of growth hormone
Human growth hormone called somatotropin, along with some other substances is responsible for the development of muscle mass.
It is produced in the pituitary gland, and the peak of its concentration in the blood falls during our sleep. That is why it is so important to get a sufficient amount of rest between intensive workouts aimed at increasing muscle mass.
“For people who try to lose weight, sleep is important too. It has been proven that prolonged sleep deprivation can cause an increase in the level of cortisol in the blood, which in turn leads to an increase in insulin production and a decrease in cellular response to it. In other words, not getting enough sleep makes you fat.”
Lastly, working out helps those women who are in their menopausal stage since the hormones stated above declines during a woman’s menopausal phase. With this said, although there would be medications like combipatch which might be prescribed by a doctor that can be bought with combipatch discount coupons, working out is still one of the best actions to take against the irrevocable occurrence in a woman’s life.
Recovery of muscles and ligaments
Muscles are recovering during sleep. During the pumping phase of the workout, the micro-traumas will appear in the muscles, which causes us to feel uncomfortable.
Growth hormone, which is mentioned above, along with the proteins that were consumed during the day, helps muscles rebuild themselves and increase in volume, which leads to an increase in lean muscle mass.
In addition, a good rest catalyzes the breakdown of lactic acid that gives us an unpleasant feeling of soreness after exercise.
Effect on reaction speed
Workouts aren’t limited to developing physical strength. And quite often, in addition to general endurance, sufficiently fast reaction speed is required.
The lack of rest between workouts can significantly reduce your results here, so do not neglect it.
The intensity of training
It has been proven that sleep deprivation lowers the pain threshold, making us more susceptible to pain.
Therefore, if you are training with extreme weights, ensure yourself enough of high-quality sleep between sessions.
Toggling the Balance Between Sleep and Workouts
Now you know that quality sleep and intense workouts are both important for achieving your personal goals. But even world-famous athletes cannot always maintain a perfect balance between them. Therefore, the question arises: how to correctly toggle the switches and prevent suffering?
And is it necessary to do this at all?
It is not uncommon for athletes to neglect a few hours of sleep or even go to the gym after a sleepless night.
But John Breese from happysleepyhead.com mentions that sleep should always be a priority, as its impact on your endurance is significantly higher than that of the training session.
Of course, one night of bad sleep will not reverse the whole progress. Yet, it is best to build your schedule based on your basic need for sleep rather than vice versa.
For example, if you slept for about 7-8 hours the night before, which meets most people’s need for sleep, then you can certainly go hit the gym.
However, this may not work if you didn’t have a good night’s sleep during a couple of nights before. Here you get to decide between sleeping an extra hour or two (which is totally acceptable!) or working out.
Note that if you choose the latter, the effectiveness may be lower than you expected.
People often view sleeping as the least productive time. But this is far from the case. Getting enough quality sleep will allow you to be much more productive in the long run, not only in terms of your workouts but also in other areas of life.
So, don’t give sleep a secondary role in your schedule. It can change your life and your workouts!