It’s pretty much seen as the norm for people to have exercise and diet in their heads when they think about getting fit and healthy. Exercise allows you to burn those calories, and fuelling the body with all the right things will help with the development and sustaining of a fit and healthy body.
So, is there anything missing from this? Well, actually, yes. It often slips people’s mind that rest, I.E. sleep, is one of the defining factors in how well you progress with your fitness.
In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that highlights that sleep is an essential component of fitness. It’s vital for your energy levels, but aside from this, it also factors in heavily when it comes to keeping your muscles functioning healthily and your hormones in a well-balanced state.
A study from Northwestern University in the US found that people were able to exercise for longer on days that followed on from a sound sleep the previous evening. Additionally, Stanford University published research that revealed how good quality and longer sleep aided their basketball team with their performances.
Adding to the significance of sleep as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, studies have established a link between reduced amounts of sleep and increased body fat stores and a more profound threat of obesity.
So, we’ve ascertained that sleep must be prevalent to promote a boost in physical activity/workouts along with a loss of weight. And we’re also well aware of the fact that getting regular exercise also benefits your sleep quality, aren’t we? Sleep.org confirm this, so, what should you be doing to create a strong, complementary balance between the two?
From your workouts to your diet and sleep accessories such as pillows, bedding and mattresses, there’s every chance that as a keen athlete, you want to learn more about how you can incorporate high-quality sleep into your training to help you succeed. The good news is that we can help you get this right.
How do I know what the right amount of exercise is for optimum sleep?
While there’s nothing of an absolutely definitive answer to this, mainly because as humans we are all unique, so have different levels, thresholds, requirements, etc. However, research offered from the American Heart Association as well as the National Institutes of Health propose that exercising for at least 150 minutes every week for healthy adults is an acceptable recommendation to work from.
Of course, this is easily broken down to half an hour of exercise per day, for five days a week. This may not be enough for some people, but science has backed this as a minimum amount to adhere to.
In terms of sleep, the average adult requires between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to be able to function, keep a positive mood, and stay healthy. Exactly how much is up to you and how you feel after more or less sleep; you’ll know what’s right for you by the way you feel in the mornings.
It’s also important to remember that if you choose to over-train and workout too often on a constant, regular basis and the sessions are too intense, you’re not only at risk of an injury, but you will suffer from poor sleep as well, a study from Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise confirms.
Both of these pitfalls should very much be avoided, so don’t be tempted to go too hard for too long or you’ll likely suffer the consequences.
You can spot initial signs of overdoing it with your training if you start to notice that you’re going through bouts of insomnia and difficulty sleeping, on the whole, research suggests.
As such, it’s vital for you to take on board just how intense your levels of exercise are in terms of the quantity, and make sure you don’t push it too far.
As we touched on, when you’re really into staying fit and healthy, you can forget to consider the implications that over-training and generally overdoing it can be a common problem and might lead you to suffer difficulties with your sleep.
Your brain is inclined to want to go into a state of rest (sleep) 16 hours after you wake up, and it also has the ability to set your internal body clock by the timing of your workouts.
What this means is that, if you typically do your sessions at 5 pm and you head off to bed at 10 pm, your brain trains itself to crave and prepare for sleep around five hours post-workout.
This can take as long as four months to take effect but can be a super tool that your brain offers you for free that you can go by once your brain and body have adapted to your routine. Therefore, it’s worth sticking it out and reaping the benefits!