Many people think of exercise and a healthy diet as the key ingredients of a fit and healthy lifestyle. But did you know that getting a good night’s sleep is every bit as important as a getting in a good workout or eating all that kale?
Here are the three ways sleep can make – or break – your fitness goals (and why you should never cut your ‘zzz’s short).
It’s common knowledge that children and adolescents require more sleep than adults – and that’s because our bodies secrete a growth hormone (called Human Growth Hormone) when we’re in deep sleep. This is what adds inches, brain power, and muscle to a growing body – and also what helps adults recover from physical effort and activity.
That’s right: though you’re doing the work when you exercise, muscle is actually built while you sleep – which is why sleep can impact your results so significantly.
Appetite and Fat Storage
Human Growth Hormone isn’t the only hormone that’s balanced while we sleep. Four others that impact fat storage and appetite are also regulated by sleep. They are: Leptin, Ghrelin, Insulin, and Cortisol. Here’s an overview of each and its role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle:
Deep sleep allows your brain to recover from mental effort made throughout the day, and process different types of information, including muscle memory. Having good muscle memory improves your coordination during exercise. So, in addition to helping you recover from past workouts, sleep can have a positive impact on future workouts too.
The amount of sleep an adult needs varies from person to person and depends on several factors – but a minimum of 7 hours is typically recommended by experts, with the ideal being 8 (or more).
For the reasons above, we always speak to our clients about sleep as part of their overall picture of health and wellness. If you’d like to talk through your goals – and how we can help you reach them – book your free assessment and first workout here. We’d be delighted to come to you!
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 18 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!