Is a lack of sleep hindering your progress is the gym? If you’re getting any less than 7 hours of sleep a night, the answer is probably yes.
Nowadays there are so many excuses to keep us out of bed for longer. Technology like our phones, TV and laptops are always switched on, which in turn keeps our brains switched on!
The same goes for those of us that consume caffeine or alcohol on a regular basis in the evening before bed. Even a cup of tea or a glass of wine a an hour prior to bedtime can disturb your sleep and prevent you from making the most of your well deserved Z’s. Is Sleep That Important? Sleep is important for everyone, but especially if your taxing your body in the gym or if you have a very active job. Our bodies don’t just ‘switch off’ whilst we sleep - the conscious part of our brain is less active, but the rest of the body is still plodding on! The body’s restorative functions such as muscle growth, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release are all working away whilst our brain gets some kip.
If you’re getting between 7-8 hours of good quality sleep per night, you’re giving your body the optimum environment to effectively repair itself. Any less though, and you’re cutting recovery time short and not giving your body the rest it needs.
Other than muscle recovery, sleep deprivation may also lead to weight gain, a lower sex drive, poor memory, and even age our skin faster. Did your eyes widen when you read that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain? Let’s go over why this may be… How Can Sleep Affect Weight Gain? There are various reasons as to why less than 7 hours of sleep could result in weight gain, but the most likely explanation is to do with your hormones.
We have two hormones associated with hunger and satiety. ‘Ghrelin’ sends signals to your brain when you’re hungry and ‘leptin’ sends signals to your brain when you’re full.
Sleep deprivation has been found to increase levels of ghrelin, and decrease levels of leptin. So if you aren’t getting enough sleep, there is a higher chance of you feeling hungry more often and it’s also more likely for you to overeat!
Sounds like a pretty bad combination…
In other words, if you want to make the most of your training in the gym or reach your weight loss goals, get a good 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. How To Improve Sleep Quality First of all, stay away from screens an hour before you go to bed. They keep you awake and your brain stays more active for longer, so read a book or do your stretches rather than scrolling through all the crap on Facebook that you’ve probably seen 10 times today already.
Stay away from caffeine and alcohol in the late evening. The last thing you want to do if you’re wanting good quality sleep is a stimulant like caffeine. Alcohol isn’t a stimulant, but it results in poorer quality sleep! Finally, you may find it useful to track sleep time each day and also times that you consume alcohol caffeine. You might find that there’s a correlation between the two!