Let’s face it- uninterrupted sleep is a luxury. Between jobs, families, and trying to stay on top of eating healthy and exercising, some days it feels like there’s no room in the schedule for sleep. But getting a proper amount of sleep is just as vital to your health as anything else, and a lack of sleep can have serious implications on your overall health and your ability to reap the benefits from your workout. So, what are the potential implications on your workout from sleep deprivation, and how do we break bad sleep habits?
Energy & Motivation
Sleep deprivation makes you groggy, lazy, and decreases motivation for you to fit a workout into your already busy schedule. You will also a notice a decrease in your energy levels which will prevent you from being able to get the most out of your exercise routine.
A lack of sleep can decrease the levels of leptin in your body- a hormone that’s responsible for telling the brain that you’re full and help prevent overeating. It can also increase your body’s levels of ghrelin, which is commonly referred to as the “hunger hormone” that can cause your appetite to increase.
You may remember hearing the phrase, “it’s while you sleep you grow.” The growth hormone that gets released while you sleep is the very same hormone that helps strengthen your bones and muscles, which is pivotal for recovery after a workout. This is particularly important if you’re strength training- your muscles rely on this hormone to recover in order for you to continue in your training.
When you’re overtired, your reaction time is slower, your cognitive function is slower, and judgement is clouded by fatigue. Not only will your workout feel more difficult, but your risk for injury is much higher. Furthermore, the effects of sleep deprivation will continue to accumulate the longer you continue to not get enough sleep. Ultimately, you could end up having a few days of unproductive or potentially unsafe workouts if you aren’t getting adequate rest.
Sleep doesn’t just get you amped for a workout, it is pivotal for your overall health. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends at least 7 hours of sleep each night- getting less than that can result in a variety of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, an increased risk for weight gain and a higher mortality rate.
What Can You Do?
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t put your workouts over getting enough sleep. Getting yourself back on a better sleeping pattern and letting your stress hormones normalize is a healthier option than trying to work out in an exhaustive state. If you’re struggling to get proper sleep at night, there are a few options for you to consider:
You read that right. The glow from a cell phone, a tablet, or your T.V. can hurt your sleep. Try going screen-less at least 2 hours before bed.
If you’re feeling an afternoon slump, avoid taking naps so you can rest better at night. Instead try taking a walk, get a glass of water, or get outside for some fresh air. If you really feel like you need a nap, keep it to twenty minutes or less.
Light a lavender candle, use some lavender lotion, or try lavender essential oils. Lavender is known to lull you into a more relaxed state helping you ease into sleep better.
Keep Fresh Air Flowing at Home
Lower levels of carbon monoxide in the home have been proven to provide a better environment for sleep. Keep windows open as often as you can to let fresh air into your bedroom and throughout the rest of your home.
Keep Your Body Clock Regular
Try to wake up at roughly the same time every day, including weekends. A routine will get your brain and body into a healthy sleeping schedule, and help you nod off quicker at night. As soon as you get up, try to get out into a bright light as soon as possible!
For additional health and wellness tips, including 4 ways to fit a workout into your busy schedule, check out the Snap Fitness blog!