How Sleep Affects Your Fitness

It seems that our lives just get busier as the days go on. Between work, school, family, friends and routine tasks, the hours in a day just don’t seem plentiful enough. When it comes to sleep, most people aren’t getting enough hours in one night. It is estimated by The Better Sleep Council that as much as seventy percent of Americans don’t get enough sleep over the course of a week. This might not seem like a surprise to many people, unfortunately. The unfortunate part of this statistic has to do with lack of sleep and overall health.

Sleep and Fitness

When it comes to your nightly sleep and how it affects your fitness, there are many different ways that fitness goals can be slowed down by lack of sleep.

Sleep Quality and Fitness Performance

There was a study conducted by the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic that took a thorough look at a number of athletes over the course of three weeks. Their sleep quality was monitored, the number of hours they slept, their nutritional intake and their overall fitness performance. The more sleep that these athletes got, the better their performance output was.

Bad Sleep Habits

Getting enough hours of sleep in one day is incredibly important, but it is also important to pay attention to the quality of sleep. Some people think they are getting enough sleep. They eventually find out that the quality of their sleep wasn’t beneficial. Good sleep habits can lead to better sleep.

What Happens When You Sleep?

When your body is resting at night, your body is actually developing more muscle. Most people think this only occurs during the day at the gym. Muscle is actually built most efficiently during sleep. When the body is not able to recover from the day’s activities, then it becomes harder to recover from a workout.

Fitness and Its Effect on Sleep

Now that we understand the relationship between getting enough sleep and fitness, it is important to think about how fitness affects sleep. A study was conducted a few years ago by the National Sleep Foundation. Results showed that a daily fitness routine contributed to better sleep patterns. There are a lot of hormones that are released by the body when a workout has occurred. These hormones contribute to feeling less stressed. When the body is calmer, it will fall into a deeper sleep. This allows the body the time that it needs in order to recharge and recover.

Sleep Benefits

It is important to recognize sleep as a valuable tool that can be used to stay healthy. There are many health issues that are positively affected by a good sleep routine such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure
  • Lowering bad cholesterol numbers
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Managing cravings
  • Maintaining a healthy metabolism
  • Lowering stress levels

Fitness training, nutrition, an active lifestyle and sleep all contribute to a healthy physique. When the body doesn’t get enough nutrition and rest it isn’t able to fight off illness, cancer or disease. Fitness isn’t about adopting one healthy practice. It has to do with many different processes that go hand in hand.

Your sleep can directly contribute to poor fitness levels. It can also contribute to bad eating habits, which is directly related to poor fitness levels as well. This relation occurs between sleep and many other aspects of fitness. It is best to aim for approximately 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Try to make it as restful and rejuvenating as possible.

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