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How a Healthy Sleep Schedule Can Improve Strength and Endurance

When you're training, sleep can be as important as exercise. Your body needs sleep to perform well, and if you're not getting enough, you won't recover adequately, and may have difficulty building muscle and endurance. When you sleep, your body releases and regulates important hormones that help you recover, grow, react more quickly, and sustain performance.

What Happens to Your Fitness When You Don't Sleep Enough
When you're not getting enough sleep at night, your body doesn't get the time it needs to restore and rebuild itself. This is especially damaging when you're training, as your muscles need that recovery time to grow.

You have less energy for sustained athletic activity when you're sleep deprived, as your body's production of glycogen and carbohydrates is undermined by a lack of sleep. Your mental focus and ability to handle stress is lowered. Training on compromised sleep puts you at risk of injury, as your reaction time and performance suffer.

How Sleep Helps Support Fitness
Sufficient sleep means better performance. When you're well rested, your body is able to recover from training, perform faster, and react more quickly. Your mental focus and coordination are more accurate as well.

You can expect better performance when you get enough sleep because your body releases growth hormones in deep sleep. These hormones are important for repair and recovery of your muscles. Deep sleep also regulates the stress hormone cortisol, which helps your body properly digest glucose.

During non-REM sleep, you experience cell division and regeneration at a higher rate, which supports healthy muscle recovery. Light sleep helps you mentally process information, which is important to remembering what you've learned in training.
How to Maintain a Smart Sleep Schedule for Health and Fitness.

We know that sleep deprivation can be damaging to energy, muscle recovery, and mental focus, while sufficient sleep can help you recover and perform better. If you want to improve your fitness, it's important that you get good sleep, and that starts with a healthy sleep schedule.

Follow these tips to create a sleep schedule that supports strength and endurance:

  • Make time for sleep. It's not always easy to squeeze in a healthy amount of hours for rest at the end of the day, but you have to. If you're too busy to sleep as much as you should, consider cutting unnecessary commitments or identify areas in your schedule that could be more efficient so that you get enough time in bed.
  • Properly time your workouts. Overall, exercise is good for sleep. It helps make you tired at the end of the day and contributes to overall health and wellness to support healthy sleep. However, working out just before bed can leave you wired and unable to fall asleep when you really need to get rest. Avoid working out within the three hours before bedtime, and consider working out first thing in the morning to give your body a healthy wake up call.
  • Consider additional sleep. Adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep at night, but when you're training, you likely need up to 10 hours every night. This gives your body long blocks to deep sleep that support performance and muscle recovery.
  • Supplement with naps if necessary. If you just can't get enough sleep at night, make up the difference with naps during the day. However, be careful not to nap too close to bedtime, as this can disturb your ability to fall asleep, and don't nap for more than about 25 minutes, as doing so can make you feel groggy for the rest of the day.

Sara Westgreen is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She sleeps on a king size bed in Texas, where she defends her territory against cats all night. A mother of three, she enjoys beer, board games, and getting as much sleep as she can get her hands on.

1 Comment to How a Healthy Sleep Schedule Can Improve Strength and Endurance:

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Brinda Jack on Saturday, October 07, 2017 12:09 AM
It is quite interesting to find the new era :)
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