How does sleep impact your workout?

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If you haven’t figured out by now, one of the primary factors of life is receiving an adequate evening’s sleep, every night. But getting enough rest goes beyond avoiding a cranky attitude in the morning. The amount of sleep you experience has been proven to have a profound impact upon your physical activity potential, which in turn may be the difference between a beneficial and lackadaisical workout. From helping your sore muscles recover to stimulating your energy levels and mental activity, here are just a few of the ways how sleep, or lack thereof, can affect the way you workout:

Benefits go both ways

For starters, it’s important to note that while getting a good night’s rest will help increase the effectiveness of a workout, frequent physical activity is also essential for receiving more and better-quality sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, studies have shown that those who perform at least 150 minutes of exercise every week will not only sleep significantly better, but will also feel more alert throughout the day. The study noted that 35 to 40 percent of the population has difficulties falling asleep or struggles with daytime sleepiness, and while some of these cases may be due to chronic conditions, the majority could be cured through receiving more efficient exercise.

Improved athletic performance

While this may come as no surprise to most people, scientific research also backs the claim that the more sleep athletes are getting, the better they’ll perform. Researchers from the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory have carried out a study that further illustrates this claim, in which they followed a group of athletes for three weeks. Each week they continued to increase the amount of sleep they got, and each new week was met with improvements in their performance, such as faster sprint times, longer endurance, lower heart rate and an overall better workout.

Dr. Cheri Mah, a researcher at Stanford University and lead contributor to the study, expressed how all it took for the mid-season athletes to boost their potential and ability was increasing their amount of slumber.

“The athletes were training and competing during their regular season with moderate-to-high levels of daytime sleepiness and were unaware that it could be negatively impacting their performance,” Mah said in a statement. “But as the season wore on and they reduced their sleep debt, many athletes testified that a focus on sleep was beneficial to their training and performance.”

How sleep impacts health

The primary reason why slumber is so essential to your workout is because of the overall effect no rest has upon your body as a whole. If you’re frequently suffering from inadequate amounts of sleep night after night, you’re putting your body at risk for a number of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, a lagging immune system, decrease in appetite and memory and heightened stress.

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep at night, remember, the relationship between exercise and rest is a complete yin and yang. A good rule of thumb to have is that the more physical activity you receive, the better sleep you’ll get, as well as vice versa.

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