When it comes to health and fitness, sleep often takes the backseat. Yet it’s impact on our wellbeing and fitness cannot be overstated. Insufficient sleep can have detrimental effects on both our overall health and our aspirations towards achieving fitness goals, disrupting essential bodily functions, lowering energy levels, and diminishing motivation to engage in physical activities essential for fitness progress.
According to Mental Health UK, Almost 1 in 5 people in the UK aren’t getting enough sleep.
Additionally, inadequate sleep can hinder your ability to lose weight. Not only does a lack of sleep create an imbalance in the body by increasing the levels of ghrelin, causing you to feel hungrier during the day. Naturally, it also makes us want to exercise less, it slows our bodies down and therefore we consume less energy when we are tired.
Sleep isn’t just about the amount of hours you spend in bed or asleep, it’s the quality of the sleep you get that matters the most. Sleep quality depends on the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep, the continuity of your sleep, and most importantly, the depth and efficiency of your sleep.
Depth and efficiency refers to the ability to move through different sleep stages (such as deep sleep and REM sleep) effectively, experiencing restorative rest without frequent awakenings.
The impact of sleep deprivation can be subtle, here are some of the adverse effects of sleep deprivation on your fitness:
Increased Risk of Injury – Poor sleep compromises coordination, reaction time, and muscle recovery, increasing the risk of exercise-related injuries.
Reduced Muscle Recovery and Growth – During sleep, the release of growth hormone aids in muscle tissue repair, regeneration, and growth. However, inadequate rest disrupts this essential hormonal balance, reducing the body’s capacity to recover effectively from strenuous workouts.
Impaired Cognitive Function – Sleep-deprived individuals may experience reduced motivation, poor judgment, and decreased workout performance due to impaired mental function.
When sleep quality declines, many individuals turn to supplements; however, prioritizing fundamental sleep hygiene practices is more beneficial. Here are some things to consider:
Consistent Sleep Schedule – A consistent sleep schedule helps align the body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, promoting a more predictable sleep-wake cycle. This regularity signals the body when it’s time to rest and when to wake up, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.
Create a Sleep-Conducive Environment –To create a sleep-conducive environment, optimize your bedroom for relaxation and rest. Maintain a comfortable room temperature, preferably cool, and eliminate sources of light by using blackout curtains or an eye mask. Reduce noise disruptions with earplugs or a white noise machine if you sleep in a noisy environment. Minimize electronic devices in the bedroom to promote a calm atmosphere.
Limit Stimulants and Screen Time Before Bed – To enhance sleep quality, it’s essential to limit stimulants and screen time before bedtime. Minimize caffeine intake, particularly in the afternoon and evening, to avoid disrupting sleep. Additionally, limit screen exposure from phones, laptops, or TVs before bedtime, as the blue light emitted can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, hindering the onset of sleep and the overall quality of rest. Implementing these practices promotes a more conducive environment for a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep.
Relaxation Techniques – Engaging in relaxation techniques before bedtime can significantly improve sleep quality. Consider incorporating practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or gentle stretching into your pre-sleep routine. These methods help calm the mind and body, reducing stress and tension accumulated throughout the day. By dedicating a few minutes to these relaxation techniques before sleep, you can unwind effectively, promoting a more peaceful transition into restful slumber and setting the stage for a more rejuvenating night’s sleep. Check out this blog for more information about meditation.
Correct nutrition – Diet is often overlooked when it comes to sleep. Opt for nutritious foods high in calcium and magnesium. Refrain from consuming heavy meals close to bedtime, as they can lead to discomfort and difficulty falling asleep. Here is a blog you can check out if you want to read more about foods that can help with sleep
Thanks for reading !