How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Fitness

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How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Fitness

Ever pushed yourself to go the gym before 6am, only to find you can barely lift those dumbbells or break a sweat on the bike? According to sleep expert Phil Lawlor from Dormeo, poor-quality sleep can seriously affect your fitness. Here, he explains why you should prioritise a good night’s rest.

Increases energy for better performance

Everyone’s been there struggling to tie your trainers and get out the door. And even when you muster up enough motivation to start moving, you just can’t bring yourself to make the maximum effort. If that sounds familiar, you probably don’t have enough energy stored to push yourself to peak performance.

So, when you need more energy, you might consider hitting your local health store for a quick pick-me-up. And while expensive vitamin water and caffeine supplements might promise great things, guzzling energy drinks won’t replace a good night’s slumber. Sleep is one of the best ways to naturally boost energy, giving you that little bit of oomph you need for exercise. Plus, it’s free!

Helps with essential bodily functions

When you go to the gym, you’re there to achieve a purpose. But common fitness goals such as increasing muscle mass, losing weight and improving your overall health have one thing in common: they require sleep. Research suggests that your nightly snooze can restore the body, with some essential functions like muscle growth and tissue repair only happening during this time. So, by naturally repairing your body, a good night’s sleep is a great way to get yourself ready for a workout.

How a Good Night’s Sleep Can Improve Your Fitness health

Fights unhealthy cravings

Watching your waistline isn’t just about getting your heart pumping: it’s about eating right, too. But did you know that a good night’s sleep is an important factor for maintaining a healthy diet? People who sleep less than 7 hours a night are more likely to become obese, according to the NHS.

Sleep deprivation causes an increased amount of ghrelin in your body, a hunger-stimulating hormone. What’s more, a lack of sleep reduces your levels of leptin, the chemical that makes you feel full. The combination of these two effects causes unhealthy cravings that lead you to a higher calorie intake, which you can’t necessarily burn off through exercise. Plus, excessive sugar or fat consumption could cause fatigue, headaches and bloating, which will have a negative impact on your training and performance.

Improves focus and alertness

Whether it’s an extra kilometre on the treadmill or achieving a personal best at the squat rack, getting what you want out of a workout can be a challenge if you haven’t slept well. That’s because you’re more likely to make mistakes and lose focus after a bad night’s sleep. Try to get at least 7–8 hours per night, so you wake up feeling alert and attentive enough to power up your workout.

Regulates your metabolism

Recent studies show that poor sleep could negatively affect your metabolism. There have been links between sleep loss and metabolic dysregulation, which is thought to cause insulin resistance. This can lead to multiple health problems, including diabetes and extreme weight gain. Of course, any serious health issues can impact on your fitness: no one wants to exercise if they’re unwell.

A good night’s sleep could make all the difference to your workouts and your waistline. Getting in 7–8 hours of rest will give you more energy, make you feel focused and revitalise your body for a hard training session. Sleep also adjusts your metabolism and can combat those unhealthy cravings, making you more likely to stay away from sugary snacks and hit the gym instead!

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