While it’s not bad to focus on achieving fitness goals, people sometimes fail to pay adequate attention to the importance of sleep in the equation. Sleep is important in achieving your fitness goals, even as vital as your workout and diet, since it gives your muscles the rest they need in order to develop. Sleep also lets you function normally.
Body For Life explained that growth hormones are released during sleep, and these natural chemicals help you gain more muscle mass. Just as important, adequate sleep repairs the damage inflicted on your body after a strenuous workout or any other tiring activity.
Although the ideal eight hours of sleep is highly recommended, at least six hours of sleep is enough to reinvigorate your muscles as the peak of the muscle restoration process comes by the third to fourth hour of slumber. Once awake, you’re going to feel rejuvenated, full of energy, and ready to go for another workout, or simply move about to perform your daily tasks.
Huffington Post writer Fabian Markl interviewed his bodybuilder brother to further delve into the importance of sleep when working out. Hans Markl, who in 2015 won the South German bodybuilding championship in his weight category talked openly about the impact of sleep on his fitness regime. He confessed that when his sleep was limited to only five hours, he was under a lot more stress, emotionally unstable, and easily distracted.
As an initial response, he decided to work out more, rather than extend his sleeping hours. This led to recurring migraines and other worse symptoms. After a medical check-up, he reverted back to a normal rest schedule and in turn increased productivity, while reducing stress as well as his mood swings.
Aside from the mental and emotional toll, sleep deprivation also has ramifications in weight regulation. Shape Magazine emphasized that depriving yourself of sleep can reduce and even undo the benefits of your diet because sleep keeps your insulin level in check. When it spirals out of control, your body won’t be able to properly use insulin, which is your natural fat burner, making it much harder to gain lean muscle.
Everything leads to a domino effect, and you’ll start to have more intense food cravings as well. These cravings occur because sleep also helps control leptin and ghrelin, which are the two of the most important hormones related to hunger. When these biological chemicals are imbalanced, the body feels famished frequently throughout the day, ultimately disrupting your diet in the process.
That being said, the reality is that some people just naturally find it difficult to doze off. Consequently, Leesa states that regular exercise is a defining factor in improving sleep, thus, not only is sleep good for working out; the same is true the other way around. If you find it hard to sleep, you can try doing quick workout sessions two or three hours before bedtime.
After completing your routines, it’s best to sleep, or at least lie down to rest, not long afterward so you could gain optimum results to facilitate consistent muscle growth.