Many people think of sleep as a luxury, rather than a crucial part of our overall strategy for good health and fitness. We assume that staying up all night browsing on our smartphones isn’t a bad thing, because we can always make up for the slumber that we lose on our days off work.
However, the more research we do into sleeping patterns, the more we discover that sleep is essential to every aspect of our health, from protecting our immune system to reducing our risk of problems like depression and anxiety. Sleep can even help you to get fit and stay that way too. Here are just five proven reasons why sleep is essential to your fitness levels.
1. Sleep Keeps You Motivated
If you’ve ever woken up after a long, restless night where you struggled to get a lot of sleep, then you’ll know that the last thing you want to do on those groggy mornings is head to the gym. However, if you’re well-rested on your bed throughout the night, then your body and mind will be functioning at their peak. That means that you’re more likely to stick to your exercise goals.
According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, a good quality of sleep is proven to help us stick to our exercise plans and maintain motivation levels. You’re less likely to avoid the gym when you’re well-rested.
2. Sleep Helps You to Recover and Re-energize
Once you’re done with a hard day of work or following your regular routine, you can end up with everything from stress headaches, to inflammation-causing exhaustion in your limbs. Sleep is how you overcome this discomfort so that you can once again be in the prime position for the exercise.
Sleep is an excellent time to relax and unwind, but it’s also a period during which your body will be hard at work repairing the damage caused by stress and exercise during the day. With plenty of sleep, you’ll continue to feel like the best version of yourself, every day.
3. Sleep Makes You More Energized and Alert
Speaking of making you feel like a better version of yourself, a good night’s sleep also helps to organize your thoughts, increase your focus, and help you feel more alert too. Being engaged and active feels great, when you’re exercising after a good night’s rest. What’s more, when you wake up feeling refreshed and use that energy for exercise, you increase your chances that you’ll be able to sleep well the next night too.
A regular exercise routine and a good sleeping strategy can work together to deliver a healthier routine for you every day.
4. Sleep Improves Endurance
If you’ve ever tried to complete your normal, everyday tasks after a bad night’s sleep, you’ll know how much things like stamina and endurance can suffer. However, if you’ve got plenty of sleep, you’re much more likely to push yourself further and accomplish new things.
Another way that sleep improves your endurance is by reducing high blood pressure, and improving the performance of your immune system. When your body is healthy, you’re less likely to have excuses that you can use to avoid exercising.
5. Sleep Helps You to Lose Weight
Finally, researchers have begun to discover that the people who sleep fewer hours a night are often the ones who are more likely to be obese or overweight. Experts believe that a lack of sleep impacts the hormones in our brains that affect appetite, known as leptin and ghrelin.
If you want to lose weight as part of your fitness routine, plenty of sleep will help to improve your feelings of satiation when you eat healthy foods and make it less likely that you’ll snack throughout the day.
It turns out that exercise doesn’t just improve your sleep by helping you drift off each night. The sleep that you get every evening could support you in your quest for better fitness too.