One of the most frequently overlooked factors in health and fitness is sleep. As busy as life can get, it is easy to forget to make sure you are getting enough sleep every day. In fact, when it comes to prioritizing fitness goals, many people put sleep as one of the least important factors related to those goals. Not getting enough sleep can affect your focus, energy, body composition, and weight loss or gain.
The good news? If you do get enough sleep every night the benefits are fantastic!
How Much Sleep Is Enough Sleep?
Fitness is not something you focus on for a few weeks or months, even years – it’s a way of life. Getting between 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night is absolutely necessary in order to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and body. Whether you are doing cardio or strength training, getting enough sleep at night will help you make long term progress with your fitness goals.
If you constantly struggle with getting enough snoozing hours in, then it is likely your body will not recover as fast and you may not always stay in peak fitness condition. Deterring from a minimum of at least 7 hours of sleep a night will eventually show a gradual decline in your fitness progression. Your muscle gain will slow, weight loss will stall or hit a plateau and perhaps one may even begin to see weight gain and overuse injuries occur more often.
Sleep Is Just As Important As Nutrition
Just like eating healthy, sleep is major factor if you are looking to improve your overall well-being. Both of these factors are needed in the correct amounts to recover from anything life throws at us – including regular exercise!
Sleep is commonly said to be one of the most anabolic responses the body has. Meaning, when you sleep your body is busy recovering and growing or repairing muscle mass. Whether your goal is to get bigger and stronger or to lose weight and tone up, sleep is a necessary factor in helping you achieve your goals.
Just as you cannot out-train bad nutritional choices, you cannot out-train bad sleep patterns or habits. If you come across a time period when you encounter a bout of bad sleep, do not stress yourself about it because it happens!
Goodnight, Sleep Tight!
Here are some simple tips to ensure you are getting good quality sleep:
- Don’t exercise within 2 hours of going to bed unless this is the only time you have to work out.
- Avoid consuming caffeine or energy drinks within 6 hours of bedtime.
- Stay off of “blue-light” devices such as TV’s and phones 30 to 60 minutes before bed.
- Try to develop a routine for the last 30 minutes leading up to bedtime, this helps your brain de-stress and relax.
If you make sleep as important as the other factors regarding your fitness you will be surprised with the return on your investment; not only regarding your fitness but in many other aspects of life as well. Sweet dreams!