In the realm of wellness and physical vitality, we often find ourselves chasing after the latest exercise fads, tweaking our diets, and pushing our limits to achieve optimal fitness. Yet, amidst the noise of these pursuits, we may unintentionally overlook a fundamental pillar of our well-being—sleep.
We spoke to our expert Vinodh V, Nutrition and Fitness - Advance Plus Coach at Fittr and he explained the impact of sleep on fitness and exercise.
Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining good health and well-being, and it's especially important for those who engage in regular exercise. Sleep can have a significant impact on our fitness and exercise performance, affecting both our physical and mental abilities.
Importance Of Sleep On Fitness
One of the most important ways that sleep affects fitness is by influencing muscle recovery. During exercise, our muscles undergo micro-tears that need time to heal and repair. This process is crucial for muscle growth and strength development. Vinod said that when we don't get enough sleep, our body produces less growth hormone, which is responsible for repairing and building new muscle tissue. As a result, our muscles take longer to recover and our fitness gains may be slower.
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Were you aware that our metabolism is significantly influenced by the quality of our sleep? When we don't get enough sleep, our body produces more cortisol, which breaks down muscle tissue and stores fat. This can lead to decreased muscle mass and increased body fat, which negatively impacts our fitness and exercise performance.
Improves Mental And Emotional Health
In addition to affecting muscle recovery and metabolism, sleep can also affect our mental and emotional health. Lack of sleep can lead to decreased motivation and increased fatigue, making it harder to maintain a regular exercise routine. It can also lead to mood swings and decreased mental clarity, which can negatively impact our performance during workouts.
So, how much sleep do we need to maintain good fitness and exercise performance? Adults should get a minimum of 7-9 hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The amount of sleep required, however, varies from person to person. Some people may need more or less sleep depending on factors such as age, activity level, and overall health.
Also Read: Sleep And Immune System: Expert Explains The Impact Of Not Taking Adequate Sleep
Tips To Improve Sleep Cycle
To optimise your sleep and improve your fitness and exercise performance, here are some tips listed by our expert:
Stick To A Regular Sleep Schedule
The idea of binge-watching may seem tempting but it can hamper your sleep cycle by disturbing your sleep. Hence, set a fixed sleep schedule by waking and sleeping at the same time.
Create A Sleep-Conducive Environment
A healthy sleeping environment enables you to sleep better. Therefore, make sure to turn off the lights before going to bed and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows for quality sleep.
Avoid Caffeine And Alcohol Before Bed
Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality and disrupt your sleep cycle.
Wind Down Before Bed
Spend some time relaxing before bed, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. Refrain from engaging in stimulating activities like watching TV or using electronics.
As long as you don't exercise too close to bedtime, exercise can help you sleep better. Vinod added that a healthy lifestyle includes many different components, and obtaining enough sleep is only one of them. Proper nutrition, hydration, and stress management are also important for maintaining good fitness and exercise performance.