Sleep Health

How to make the most out of fitness and health

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Getting the right amount of quality sleep is just as important as eating nutritiously and getting regular exercise. In fact, these factors are very much linked, particularly sleep and fitness.

No matter what you would like to achieve whether it is maintaining your fitness, improving your performance at the gym, or even as far as training for a marathon- all these goals require a good night’s sleep. Even if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and do not exercise much or at all, improving your sleep quality may lift your mood, increase your energy throughout the day and give you that extra motivation to start being more active. In fact, they both go hand in hand: exercising helps you get more sleep and sleeping more helps give you the energy to be more active!

So what can I do to make sure I get the most out of my fitness and health?

  • Sleep is the time when your body is recovering so it makes sense that without an adequate amount of quality sleep, your body will not recover properly and you may feel a lack of energy and become more sedentary throughout the day.
  • For those of us that exercise regularly, sleep gives the body time to not only repair but also conserve energy and build up the muscles you have worked during a workout.
  • Getting good quality sleep results in more production of Growth Hormone which is very important for athletic recovery.
  • Deep sleep is particularly important in providing energy to the body (physical rest) and brain (psychological rest). You can increase your amount of Deep sleep by increasing your amount of physical exercise.
  • Reflexes and accuracy are both important when training, and both have been shown to be negatively affected when you are deprived of sleep.
  • Sleep deprivation makes you more tired, energy levels are low the next day and your focus and concentration are negatively affected. This is because the production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use when engaging in physical activity are reduced when we are deprived of sleep.
  • Motivation, motivation, motivation! Getting a good night’s sleep can help you stick to your guns. A study has shown that quality sleep will boost your energy levels and increase your motivation to stick to your exercise plans.
  • We have all been in the situation at the gym when exercise just feels that much harder that day for some reason. There is a reason for that. A study has shown that not getting adequate sleep can result in making physical activity like working out at the gym harder. 
  • For those running enthusiasts, sleep deprivation can reduce your endurance: you cover approximately 3% less distance on a lack of sleep and not being well rested. For those who love resistance/weight training, a lack of sleep can reduce your muscle strength output you need to lift heavy weights.
  • Balance is important when it comes to exercise and sleep. If you get less than adequate sleep the night before it is best to rethink your schedule and get that extra hour or 2 of sleep in the morning rather than going to the gym. Likewise, if you got 7-8hr of sleep, then use that energy and go hard with the workout!

Remember don’t over-do it, if you love your workouts whether it is the gym or sports, you need to find a healthy balance between getting your regular workouts and not sacrificing a good night’s sleep. Both are equally important if you want to get the best energy out of your day.

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