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The Major Impact Sleep Has on Your Workout

We all think that hitting the gym more often and lifting more weights will have us looking better, getting stronger, and feeling amazing – of course, physical activity certainly helps with all those things! However, the most unlikely activity that impacts your workout in multiple ways is something that most of us do every night …and that is sleep.

Sleep is one of the most underrated and under prioritized activities that you can do to boost health, improve mood, and get better recovery after exercise – and this includes improving your workouts at the gym and their corresponding effects. Not only does sleep allow the body to rest and rebuild from the day, but it also regulates hormones, blood pressure, and the way we store things in our memory.

Likewise, not getting enough rest can also have dire consequences; certain hormones and proteins are produced when we’re sleeping, and a lack of shut eye can result in a decrease in these proteins which are necessary in order to build muscle mass…and in turn, cause muscles to break down and not recover and get stronger as they should.

For example, one particular study was done on over 10,000 college students in regards to the correlation between strength and sleep. After gathering data from handgrip strength as well as hours slept each night, it was noted that the students that slept less than six hours each night had significantly lower strength values than the students who slept 7-8 hours each night. Essentially, this shows us that sleep is strongly partnered with muscle strength, while not getting enough quality sleep can decrease the amount of strength that you have.

Sleep doesn’t just have a positive relationship with muscle strength though…it also has a direct connection to exercise adherence, as shown by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Research has shown us that getting a good night of shut eye affects physical activity that is done the next day, which is promising information for those looking to improve their participation in an exercise program.

Interestingly enough, poor sleep habits are not only linked to increased weight loss and an increased appetite, but not sleeping well can also lower your resting metabolic rate – and therefore making the progress that you’re striving for in the gym to hit a brick wall. One particular study of a group of men kept awake for 24 hours showed that their RMR decreased by 5% after just one night …and this factor is then causing the body to burn less calories at rest during the day.

So, how much sleep do you need in order to boost your workouts and your recovery each day? Essentially, most adults need between 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night in order to reap the benefits of your workouts, and these can include factors like decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, maintaining weight and/or increasing weight loss, improving muscular strength, increasing motivation and overall participation and exercise adherence, and making recovery a bit easier – and therefore, making your following workout sessions a little less difficult.