Why a good night’s sleep can help you reach your fitness goals

While you probably already know that sleep is good for you, have you thought about how your fitness goals are impacted by your shuteye?

In this article, Brett Gordon from sports brand Fitness Superstore explains how your fitness goals can get a boost from a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is a concern for many of us at the moment, with one in five Brits not getting enough shut-eye, and 37% of adults in the UK citing work as a reason why they don’t have control over their sleep.

Sleep is extremely important, not just for mental functioning but also for physical performance – it maintains and repairs almost every tissue in our bodies, and therefore allows muscles to recover from workouts.

Below are just some ways that you can improve your shut-eye and give your fitness regime a boost. By improving your sleep, you’ll feel more refreshed and recover faster, allowing you to push your performance further.

Naturally boost your sleep pattern

Finding ways to support your sleeping pattern is the first important step towards getting the rest you need. Firstly, try to set aside plenty of time to decompress at the end of the day to help you relax into a deeper sleep. Try drinking a cup of your favourite herbal tea, listening to a podcast, reading a book, or doing other things that help you unwind at the end of the day.

Allowing an hour to decompress like this before bedtime can make the world of difference in how easily you fall asleep, as you will be less caught up in the worries of the workday, family life, or household tasks.

Then, try to keep your room as comfortable as possible for sleep. Humans tend to sleep better at slightly lower temperatures, so ensure that your room isn’t too hot for you to comfortably drift off. You might also want to minimise natural light by using things like blackout curtains or eye masks, as this can often keep people awake.

Ear plugs can also be helpful and give you a chance to shut out any noise during the night. By prioritising and making time for adequate sleep, you can get yourself into a healthier routine that can help you feel more refreshed and energised throughout the day.

Remember that muscle is built in recovery

You might want to focus on your workouts and achievements in the gym, but don’t forget that your recovery is the time when your muscles are actually  growing.

During workouts, we give our muscle fibres micro-tears, and this initiates our body’s recovery response – which is to repair the damage and then get stronger, so we can withstand the strain next time. In order for this process to take place productively and be successful, an adequate amount of recovery time is needed between workouts.

So, giving yourself enough time to recover and rest in between workouts can really make a difference to your performance and gains in the gym. Sleep is also when our bodies are doing the majority of repair to our muscles, so this is very important not only to make you feel better after exercising, but also to help this important physical process along.

How sleep boosts motivation

Getting enough sleep is also crucial for keeping us motivated and prepared to work out. It’s tempting when we get tired to choose more  unhealthy snacks or give our cardio or strength training a miss.

Try to get into a routine that is energising and motivating, by combining more time to wind down and better sleep hygiene with setting an alarm in the morning and keeping to a steady routine of waking up, exercising, and relaxing.

By establishing this routine and combining it with some relaxation techniques to help you get enough sleep, you’ll feel much more prepared to take on your workouts or push yourself to achieve more in your chosen sport.

How exercise can help sleep

It’s not just that sleep can be helpful for maximising your performance during exercise — if you take the time to exercise, it can also help your sleep too. Exercise can reduce the amount of time it takes us to fall asleep, as well as decrease the time we spend waking up throughout the night. It can also help to alleviate daytime sleepiness.

All in all, exercise has a great symbiotic relationship with sleep and it’s very beneficial to take time to work out if you struggle to get to sleep at night. Even just a walk can help to regulate your sleep cycle better.

In a survey done by the Sleep Foundation, 76-83% of respondents who engage in light, moderate, or vigorous exercise reported very good or fairly good sleep quality, whereas this figure dropped to 56% for people who didn’t exercise. People who exercised were also more likely to get more sleep during the work week.

So, it’s well worth taking the time to incorporate some fitness into your routine to help you sleep better and feel more energised throughout the week.

Getting enough sleep can help you perform better at sport

Taking enough time to recover and sleep between exercise sessions is extremely important, and by using some of these tips you can boost your sporting achievements. With better energy levels and healthier routines, you’ll see how much more fun your workouts are when you have enough energy for your fitness routine.

Photo by Capstone Events