The Health Benefits of Sleep for Your Fitness

getting a good sleep

 
Has this ever happened to you? It’s day one of your new fitness regimen – you’re ready to roll, itchin’ for action, and motivated to move. In fact, you’re so amped up that you can barely sleep through the night. You pop up from bed at 5:30 am (who cares if you only slept 3 hours?!) and get in your first workout. A few hours later, when you should be up and at ‘em, you’re actually dozing off to dreamland. All you want is a nap… and maybe some donuts. 

You made one crucial error my friend – getting enough sleep is one of the most important aspects to staying healthy and fit! Even though you may think getting up early for that morning HIIT session did you some good, if you’re not getting those ZZZs, you’ll be left feeling tired, sore, and wondering why you aren’t seeing results. 

So listen up, sleeping beauties! Now that we’re all getting our sweat on right in our own living room, it’s time to start using our extra time for sleep. Here are all the reasons why exercise and sleep go hand in hand.

Performance

When you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is work out. Turns out, your body agrees! Lack of sleep can make your regular workouts seem twice as difficult. You’ll burn out faster, and probably won’t be able to complete your usual 30-minute core workout. That doesn’t mean getting 8 hours of sleep will suddenly give you superhuman fitness abilities. However, it will make you more motivated, concentrated, and put you in a better mood, all of which plays into how much you’ll be able to get out of your exercise session.
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Recovery

While you’re working out, you aren’t building muscle. So what is all that weight you’re squatting actually doing? Well, what you do during your workout is important, but how much rest you get between sessions may be even more significant. Technically, your muscles are rebuilding during rest, not during exercise. This means the more sleep you get, the more time your body has to recover and build up your muscles. Getting quality shuteye is essential for coming back even stronger for your next workout.

Diet

You may be wondering, what does sleep have to do with my diet? And the answer would be more than you might think. Your cortisol levels, also known as your stress hormones, rise when you’re sleep-deprived, causing weight gain. No matter how many protein shakes or salads you eat while you’re awake, miss out on a night of sleep and their benefits could be lost. If you really want to get technical, your body also has a harder time controlling your leptin and ghrelin levels on less sleep. These two hormones control your cravings, so that means no matter how much willpower you may have, you’re definitely going to be more likely to cheat a little on your diet when you haven’t slept well. 

So… To Sleep or To Sweat?

When you’re faced with the decision to get those extra 30 minutes of sleep or get out of bed and start a workout, staying under the covers may actually be the best choice. It depends on your normal sleeping habits, so the right decision varies from person to person. If you’re someone who regularly gets over 8 hours of sleep a night, lucky you, we’re jealous. But also, you should probably get up and go for it. However, if you usually stay up a little too late, toss and turn all night and then wake up feeling exhausted, stay in bed and get that rest because you probably won’t have your best workout anyways.

Ultimately, sleep and exercise are both important for our health, but it’s all about finding that balance. Missing a workout isn’t something to lose sleep over, so if you’re not seeing results, try taking a catnap here and there or pushing the snooze a few extra times.

Just because we’re all inside right now, don’t let that stop you from keeping up your workout routine. Check out a 7-Day Free Trial from Studio SWEAT onDemand for a huge variety of onDemand workouts (including my fave Bedtime Yoga), featuring passionate trainers and tons of classes like TRX, HIIT, Yoga, and Pilates, right from your own home. Since you don’t have to spend time heading to the gym, you won’t have to sacrifice any of those precious ZZZ’s. Sleep tight!

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