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Sleep tends to be one of the first activities that we sacrifice when our busy lives catch up with us. It is said that around 70 percent of people do not get the recommended amount of sleep for their age range. While we may feel that this is something we have just come to adjust to, it is actually taking a much larger toll than we think.
Getting enough sleep is vital in order for your mind and body to function properly. It helps you think clearly, stay energized, and even recover from injuries. But how exactly can sleep, or lack thereof, affect your physical fitness?
There are several different ways in which you can answer this question. But before we take a closer look at them, it is important to understand what goes into getting a quality night of sleep.
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, there are many factors that play a role. It is always important to find a good nighttime routine that will help train your body to know when to fall asleep. This time is often referred to as “unwinding,” and is helpful for calming your mind and helping to relax your body.
Here a few major factors that will affect the quality of your sleep:
- Food and Beverage Intake
- Sleeping Position
- Comfort Level
Your Mattress Matters
One asset that is typically overlooked when trying to self-diagnose your sleeping troubles is your mattress. In order to maintain a consistent streak of quality sleep, it is important to be sleeping on the best mattresses and you want one that specifically suits your personal needs..
A mattress should compliment your body and sleeping style. And although you may not have trouble falling asleep on your current mattress, it could be the reason behind your inability to stay asleep.
When you are looking to get a new mattress, try to avoid buying used. It is impossible to gauge the condition of the mattress you are getting unless you know it is brand new. Although a brand new mattress can run you a couple hundred dollars, it is a worthwhile investment due to the amount of time you will spend on it.
How Does Sleep Actually Impact Your Fitness?
While your training routine and diet plays a big role in your physique, so does your sleep. In fact, the amount of quality sleep that you get in a night will have a direct impact on both of those other factors.
So going back to the question above, how does getting quality sleep, or lack thereof, affect your physical fitness? Below we have highlighted three of the main areas that will be directly affected by the amount of sleep you are getting.
Sleep Affects Your Diet
A lack of sleep can be very damaging for your diet. Loss of sleep has been discovered to alter your hunger hormones. As a result, your appetite will increase throughout the day and leave you with cravings for food that will only slow your fitness progress. This can also lead to late-night binge eating, which is one of the most destructive activities for both your physical fitness and overall health.
Getting the proper amount of sleep also helps your body function properly, which includes the regulation of your metabolism. When you can keep your metabolism consistent, you can better predict how much food you will need to eat before you are full. This also allows you to metabolize your food quicker and convert it straight into energy for a workout.
Sleep Affects Your Ability to Recover from Injury
Your body undergoes a lot of healing when you are asleep. In fact, your body heals minor tissue damage and other injuries that you may not have even known you had when you were awake.
When you fall asleep, your heart rate and blood pressure will both decrease, resulting in slower breathing and greater relaxation. This time where the heart is not working as hard to pump blood through your body is when you have the best opportunity to heal.
This healing time works to repair damaged tissues and reduce inflammation. If you are frequently undergoing intense workouts, then this inflammation reduction is crucial in order for you to wake up feeling refreshed and not sore.
Sleep Affects Your Energy Level
If you have ever pulled an all-nighter, whether it be alone or with a friend, then you understand the sluggish and lagging feeling that you endure the following day. This fatigue greatly overpowers the remaining energy you have, and will eventually result in you falling asleep within minutes of wherever you become comfortable.
These low levels of energy make it nearly impossible to exercise. Even if you have the proper motivation to get up and go to the gym or for a jog, you won’t be able to reach your maximum potential for that day.
Alternatively, getting a proper amount of sleep will greatly boost your energy levels, making it much easier to work on your fitness during the day. And these higher levels of energy will also allow you to achieve an intense workout, helping you to burn even more calories and, most importantly, become fatigued so that you can fall and stay asleep later that night.
Exercise and Sleep Go Hand In Hand
Finding a good balance between sleep and exercise is only going to improve those areas of your life. In fact, the two actually compliment one another perfectly.
When your body and muscles are fatigued, it is much easier to relax once you lay down in bed. For obvious reasons, this will lead you to fall asleep faster and settle into a much deeper sleep.
In other words, when you endure an intense workout throughout the day it burns a lot of stored up energy that you have in your body. This leads to soreness in your muscles due to microtears in your muscle tissues.
And because your body is now fatigued from the workout, you will be able to get a good night’s rest that allows for your muscles to heal. This quality sleep will also restore your energy levels, which puts you back on track to complete a workout the following day. This cycle can be very beneficial for people of all ages.
To summarize, the amount of quality sleep that you get each night will greatly affect your physical fitness. Whether you are getting too much or too little sleep, it can have devastating consequences for your health and can lead to things such as heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity.
Aside from creating a good nighttime routine that you can follow, it is important to make sure you have the correct mattress to sleep on. After all, you will want to make sure you have a comfortable place to sleep in order to recover from your workout. If you do not have a bed that you enjoy sleeping on, then you will never truly find the perfect night of restful sleep.
Getting proper sleep is vital in order to maintain metabolism, recover from injuries, and keep your energy levels up. All three of these functions play a major role in your physical fitness, and improving this area of life will help to keep you at your happiest and healthiest.