When it comes to sleep, it’s hard to overstate the importance of its role in your health. Cheri Mah, a sleep medicine researcher at Stanford University and the University of California San Francisco, picked sleep when asked if it was better to sleep in or work out. Both are key factors in your fitness, but sleep - or lack of it - can get in the way of you and your best self. “When you look at the research, regular physical activity is important for high-quality sleep, and high-quality sleep is important for physical performance,” explains Mah.
If you find that your sleep cycle has had a negative impact on your performance at the gym lately, consider the importance of sleep in your lifestyle with these tips.
Sleep can boost your workout performance
It goes without saying that lack of sleep interfere with your body’s natural production schedules. When you’re tired and add an extra layer of sweat-shedding exercise, you are putting your muscles into overdrive without giving yourself enough time to recover. Not to mention, higher-intensity (fat-burning) workouts become more difficult to achieve if you’re missing out on sleep.
While it’s important to make sure you’re clocking in enough hours of sleep to efficiently hit the gym, try not to overdo it. “It may surprise you to hear, but too much exercise can pose problems for sleep,” says Dr. Michael Breus of The Sleep Doctor. “Many people don’t give it much thought, but over-training is a common problem—and can lead to sleep difficulties. In fact, one of the first symptoms of over-training is insomnia and difficulty sleeping, according to research.”
Sleep is just as important as what you’re eating
If your fitness journey is based on weight loss, you might want to consider the amount of sleep you’re getting as well. Missing out on sleep can up your body’s level of stress hormone cortisol, which is known to retain fat cells. According to WebMD, studies have shown that people starved of sleep are more likely to turn to late-night carb-fueled snacking habits. It’s easy to help yourself to a second portion if you’re feeling tired.
Sleep is worth investing in, just like your health
There a number of factors at play when it comes to how well you sleep at night, but a good first step is taking a look at your surroundings. Your bedroom should be a place that immerses you in feelings of ease and comfort. Once you’re relaxed, you’ll have an easier time falling asleep when you need to. Play around with dim lighting or consider investing in blackout curtains. Ask yourself when the last time you purchased a mattress was. Believe it or not, the type of bed you sleep on plays a huge role in how your body sleeps. Investing in sleep is essential when it comes to investing in your health.
“For those looking to improve their sleep health through natural remedies can be a new solution,” says Marc Lewis, editor at Remedy Review. “We would encourage anyone trying something new to speak to a professional they trust.
Focus on the big picture
Like anything in life it’s all about balance and getting into a consistent workout routine is one piece of the puzzle. By focusing on how you eat, how you sleep and how you work exercise into your routine, you can work towards changing both how you look and feel. Just remember it doesn’t happen overnight – any new routine takes time and effort to build consistency.