Sleep and Fitness - The Facts Revealed

Sleep and Fitness - The Facts Revealed

There's no disputing that sleep is good for your health. Just how good is often no so well understood. One of the areas often overlooked is the advantage good sleep provides over improving and maintaining your level of fitness.

In the question and answer style article below we take a look at some of the more frequently asked questions and cover some areas of the benefits of sleep that may surprise you. 

How many hours of sleep do you need to recover from a workout?

You should always aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, whether to recover from a workout or maintain your health. For optimal health and workout recovery, you should consider the quality of your sleep in addition to how many hours you get. Good quality sleep means falling asleep within 30 minutes or so and staying asleep through most of the night.

Do you need to sleep more when you exercise?

If you’ve had a particularly hard workout, it’s possible that you may need more sleep than normal. Exercise makes your body produces more adenosine, a chemical that makes you feel sleepy. However, oversleeping excessively isn’t a good idea. Even after a workout, you probably won’t need much more than the 7-9 hours of sleep you should be getting anyway.

Can you lose weight by sleeping?

You can definitely boost your effort to lose weight by sleeping enough. While sleeping more than the necessary 7-9 hours won’t help you lose more weight, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule helps keep your metabolism healthy, reduces your cravings for sugary foods, and keeps you energetic enough to live an active lifestyle.

How does sleep help muscle growth?

Sleep helps muscle growth because your body releases a massive surge of growth hormone while you sleep. If you’re hoping to build muscle, you should prioritize getting enough quality rest, since the body actually performs the majority of its muscle-building work while you sleep. In addition, sleeping enough will help you maintain the activity levels you need to build muscle.

What should I eat before bed to build muscle?

Is sleep or exercise more important when it comes to fitness? 

Sleep and exercise are equally important cornerstones of your general health. Assessing which is more important is like comparing the importance of food vs. water for survival. That said, to run with the analogy, consider that you can live longer without food than without water. Similarly, you can likely go a few days without working out without suffering immediate consequences, but losing even one night of sleep is likely to leave you seriously impaired.

Should you exercise with no sleep?

Putting your body through a strenuous workout when you’ve been up all night is not advisable. A lack of sleep can impair your coordination, leaving you more likely to injure yourself, and fatigue will make it significantly harder to get a good workout. Going for a brisk walk might make you feel a little better, but leave the running and weightlifting for another day.

Is working out before sleep good?

There’s no hard and fast rule here. Working out immediately before bed is a bad idea for most people, since your body generates stimulating hormones like cortisol and adrenaline during exercise, but studies suggest that those effects tend to wear off within an hour or two. People who work out regularly generally sleep better than those who don’t, so your best bet is to experiment and see what works for your body.

Can exercising at night cause insomnia?

Whether or not exercising at night will cause insomnia depends on how long before bedtime you finish exercising, and how easily you fall asleep. For some people, exercising within a couple hours of trying to sleep can cause wakefulness, but others find that it actually helps them relax. A little trial and error will help determine what’s best for your body, but you should always strive to get adequate amounts of both exercise and sleep.

Is it bad to work out when tired?

Working out when you’re tired may be a bad idea, depending on how vigorously you intend to exercise and how tired you are. If you’re not severely or chronically sleep deprived, 30 minutes or so of moderate exercise probably won’t do any harm, and may actually make you feel better. If you can barely keep your eyes open, save the workout for when you’re better rested.

Is taking a nap after a workout good?

If you feel tired after an intense workout, squeezing in a post-workout nap may be just what your body needs. Contrary to popular belief, sleep is a period of active restoration for your body, and a short nap may increase the benefits of your workout. Just be sure that your urge to sleep isn’t caused by exercising beyond your capacity—if that’s the case, you should adjust the intensity of your workout rather than try to counterbalance it with sleep.

Is it good to do push ups before bed?

Like other forms of exercise, doing push ups just before bed may leave you too energetic to sleep, since your body releases stimulating hormones while working out. However, some people find that exercising before bed doesn’t take a negative toll on their rest.

Leaving a gap of an hour or two between working out and bedtime is a good rule of thumb, but there’s a lot of individual variation here, so it’s worth experimenting to find what works for you.

Still need convincing that quality sleep is an important aspect of your fitness regime? Ask you personal trainer or gym manager next time you see them or better still drop into a Regal Sleep store and let one of our qualified sleep consultants fit you for your perfect mattress. 

At Regal Sleep you'll find a mattress for Every BODY 

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