An early morning workout is a great thing! It keeps your fitness goals on track and clears up the rest of your day for other activities. The average adult athlete needs 8-10 hours of sleep a night, however, which can make balancing a career, family and early alarm pretty difficult. Tight schedules force many adults to sacrifice a good night’s sleep to ensure that they hit their morning jog or gym session.
While it’s important to hold yourself to a schedule, cutting out sleep could actually be a huge detriment to your workout goals. Here are four of the biggest advantages to giving your body the sleep it needs.
Studies have found that sleep’s mental health benefits can have significant impacts on athletic performance, including improved reaction time, decision-making skills, and accuracy. These are essential characteristics to any athlete, but it especially applies to those in high-intensity sports where every second counts.
Adequate sleep allows your body to work for a longer amount of time before becoming fatigued. This is due to the fact that nutrients and growth hormones are transported to your muscles and organs overnight. It allows you to wake up feeling ready to perform and push back the amount of time it takes for your muscles to tire during workouts or competitions. While this is obviously crucial to any kind of physical activity, it can be particularly beneficial for weightlifting.
Increases Muscle Mass
While you sleep, your body repairs and regenerates tissue. This process allows your muscles to recover from a damaging workout and become stronger for the next day. Sleep is so important to muscle maintenance, in fact, that missing just a few hours can cause a decrease in muscle mass.
By aiding in water absorption and body temperature regulation, sleep can have a huge effect on cardiovascular performance and speed. A recent study found that basketball players who slept longer hours than their teammates had much faster sprint times. Aerobic performance and overall heart health can decrease significantly after a few lost hours of sleep.
How to Get Better Sleep
- Practice yoga before bedtime. Yoga will not only stretch your sore muscles, but it will also soothe the mind and mentally prepare you for higher-quality sleep.
- Invest in a sleep machine. Whether you have a snoring partner or a noisy neighborhood, any intrusive noise can interrupt deep sleep. You may need to rely on a white noise machine to drown out extra noise and lull you to sleep.
- Use a mattress that supports better sleep. Personal comfort can be the difference between a restless and a restorative night. Make sure you’re using a bed that will work with you to improve your sleep and allow your body to recover overnight.
Whichever tip or trick you try, make sure you’re prioritizing sleep to get the most out of your workouts and achieve your fitness goals. If you have any other tricks to a good night’s sleep, we’d love to hear them in the comments below!
The opinions shared in this article are those of the contributor and not Total Gym Direct.