We’ve all heard it before. "Sticking to a sleep schedule is essential… blah-blah-blah."
It’s easier said than done, right? Oftentimes, our mind starts buzzing with worries right as we’re trying to get some sleep. In either case, not sleeping enough leaves us in a weakened state the next day, and our fitness is one of the first things to suffer.
How can you ensure a more relaxed state at bedtime to get the deep, restorative sleep your body needs? Or will you work out when your body and mind's energy levels are at 20% again?
Breaking the cycle of sleeplessness and enhancing your fitness results IS possible. Read on to learn how.
Understanding What Sleep is & Why It Matters
Sleep is not mere rest but rather a time when our brain functions systematically, changing the pattern of neuronal cells and regulating vital hormones, such as:
- Cortisol — the stress response hormone
- Estrogen and progesterone — hormones that play an instrumental role in the development and functioning of the human reproductive system in both sexes
- Insulin, leptin, and ghrelin — hormones responsible for regulating appetite, blood sugar levels, and converting food to energy
- Melatonin — the hormone that induces the feeling of “sleepiness” in response to darkness and affects our internal clock (circadian rhythm)
- Thyroid hormones — produced by the thyroid gland, triiodothyronine, and thyroxine are responsible for various bodily functions, such as muscle growth, metabolism, and even heart functions (stroke volume, cardiac output, etc.).
So, while sleep seems like a period of inactivity, it is anything but. The adequate production of so many chemical compounds that are essential for your quality of life depends on the timing, depth, and duration of sleep (especially cortisol and melatonin).
Not having a solid schedule for rest means depriving your body of mechanisms that protect you from diseases, injuries, and mental health challenges. And, of course, neglecting sleep negatively affects your energy storing and usage processes; that, in turn, makes workouts less effective and postpones weight loss, muscle development, and recovery.
In other words, sleep impacts a plethora of fitness goals, including but not limited to
- Maintaining high energy levels throughout the day, recovering healthily after rigorous workout routines
- Keeping appetite optimal, whether your goal is to increase or reduce caloric intake
- Enhancing metabolism
So, You Need Good Sleep... Here Is What Helps!
Perhaps the demands of work and daily life have led you to neglect sleep, or maybe you struggle to unwind at night. If you’ve seen the consequences of this reflected in declining workout performance, don’t fret! There are simple changes you can implement today to improve the quality of your sleep and make it easier to accomplish your fitness goals. You can combine the following practices to ensure long-lasting positive effects.
1. Optimize Your Meals (Choose Foods That Help With Sleep!)