Effects of sleep in fitness

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Effects of sleep in fitness

How is sleep affecting your fitness goals?


We have all been there, staying up late on social media or streaming videos when we have an early start the next day. Well not getting enough sleep can be seriously bad for your health and leave you feeling unmotivated and tired. Sleep is something we tend not to monitor but could you be getting enough? In this article we are going to be going over the effects of sleep deprivation on your fitness and overall well being. 

The first question you want to be asking yourself is. am I getting enough sleep? Well its recommended that you aim for around seven to nine hours sleep per night to avoid the effects of chronic sleep deprivation. If you are a pro athlete or your training is intense then its recommended that you get slightly more sleep, around eight to ten hours. This is due to sleep being the time where your body has time to repair itself and build muscle tissue. Athletes not getting enough sleep will be at higher risk of injury if they where deprived of sleep. 

weight loss

The amount of sleep you get also contributes to weight loss. A study was done comparing people who had less than six hours of sleep and those who have eight hours of sleep. It showed that those who slept eight hours where more likely to achieve their weight loss goals then those deprived of sleep. This could be due to stress levels as more sleep reduces stress levels which contributes highly to weight loss. Basically, the more stressed you are the harder it can be to reach your weight loss goals. There is also research linking sleep deprivation to obesity. Sleep is ideally the brains nutrition and it’s important we don’t deprive it of what it needs. Being deprived of sleep can lead to bad decision making and make it harder to stick to a weight loss regime, as the brain has not got enough rest to be in a healthy state to make decisions. 

sleep is key to muscle growth

As well as contributing to weight loss sleep is key when it comes to building muscle. It’s a well-known fact that getting a good night’s sleep is great for muscle growth and maintenance. This is because sleep allows your body to release growth hormones that increase rates of protein synthesis and therefore will cause muscles to get bigger. Not getting enough sleep can also cause muscles to decrease in size and strength. In 2011 there was a study comparing people who got 5.5 hours of sleep and others who has 8.5 hours of sleep per night for 72 hours. The results showed that the group of people who has 5.5 hours of sleep had 60% less muscle mass and the other longer sleepers had gained 40% more muscle mass. This shows the importance of sleep and why it must be taken into consideration when training. Its best to treat sleep like your diet and monitor it daily.

stay awake!

Not only bodily functions (hormone release) is affected when sleep is deprived. Another cause of loss in muscle mass could be a lack of concentration and energy during workouts. As you haven’t got enough sleep your generally going to be tired throughout the day. Sleepiness also impairs judgement which is not good when training to hit a new pb. Due to all of these, sleep deprivation can cause an increased risk of injury due to not focusing during workouts, also your performance will be effected during workouts as your body is naturally going to be tired and in need of rest. 

mental issues caused by sleep deprivation

Not getting enough sleep can also lead to many mental health issues like insomnia, depression and anxiety. These very common mental disorders have been linked to sleep deprivation but the link between sleep and mental health is still vague to scientists. Lack of sleep is also known to raise peoples stress levels. This can lead to other disorders or cause high blood pressure. 

Boost your immune system

If you’re not getting enough sleep your immune system could also be at serious risk. This is due to when you sleep your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Some of these proteins help promote sleep, others need to be increased when you have an infection or are under stress. Sleep deprivation causes less of these proteins to be released and infection fighting antibodies as these are also released during sleep. Chronic sleep loss could also make vaccines less effective as your body wouldn’t respond to it as well. 
So overall sleep is one of the most important things when it comes to staying healthy. Whatever your goals are sleep is going to help you reach them. If you find it harder to sleep at night due to a busy schedule or work, then it is recommended you stock up on naps. This to make sure that you are getting your recommended daily sleep. If you have trouble sleeping then you could seek medical help or research ways to get better sleep.