Does your sleep schedule impact your workout?
30 March 2022
Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial because sleep is what gives us enough energy to get through the day without becoming exhausted. Unfortunately, most people don’t get the recommended minimum 7 hours of sleep per night, and this can impact lots of body functions and processes, including the performance of your workouts.
Why is this?
Your performance during exercise and workouts can decline after just one night of poor sleep. According to a recent review by the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition and the Centre for Sport Research, restricted sleep can limit the maximum muscle strength you have to perform specific movements in resistance training workouts.
A bad workout due to poor sleep is less about the physical changes to the cardiovascular system and muscles and more about how inadequate sleep can make exercise feel harder than it is. This can make people fatigue easier and result in a less than optimal workout.
Other ways sleep deprivation can affect your workout:
- Slower muscle recovery
- Increased stress hormones
- Change in mood
- Increase aerobic endurance
- Decreased glycogenesis
Sleep can help exercise recovery
Sleep plays a big part of muscle recovery so if you don’t get enough of it, you won’t feel rested in time for your workout the next day. Sleep is split into two main sections – REM sleep and non-REM sleep.
- REM (rapid eye movement) Sleep – REM accounts for around 25% of total sleep time in adults and it makes up the end of the sleep period. It helps to restore the mind in the hours before waking up.
- Non-REM Sleep – Non-REM sleep is important for muscle recovery, and it helps to restore the body. During this phase your breathing becomes deeper, and your blood pressure drops. With your brain resting, it supplies more oxygen to the muscles, allowing them to heal and grow.
The non-REM sleep phase is the most important for muscle recovery, so sleeping for around 7-9 hours per night is crucial to make sure your body falls into this phase.
How to get a good night’s sleep
If you find it hard to fall asleep and you feel like it is negatively affecting your workout performance, try some of these tips:
- Try to give yourself an hour of ‘downtime’ before going sleep to de-stimulate your senses. You can do this by turning off electronics such as the TV or games consoles, put down your mobile phone – if you feel bored, try reading or listening to music.
- Try to get into a routine of waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day.
- Caffeine is a stimulant so try not to consume it after 4pm.
- Try to dedicate your bedroom to sleep only. By removing work and electronics from your bedroom, it takes away the stimulants that encourage you to reduce your downtime before bed.
- Prepare for sleep with daily meditation, journaling or reading.
- Be sure to exercise in the day. Those that exercise regularly report that they find it easier to sleep at night.
- Invest in blackout curtains to prevent the light in the summer months waking you up earlier than you want to be getting up.