By Guest Contributor Krista Harper
How is it possible that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is in his 40s, yet still playing the best games of his life? Brady credits plenty of sleep as one of the secrets of his success.
“You can only work out as hard as your ability to recover,” he’s gone on record as saying. “To be able to rebuild my body with a good night of sleep is so important to be able to continue to play football at a very high level.”
And even if you never aspire to be an NFL Superbowl champ, you still need plenty of sleep if you want to perform your best, whether on a field or in the gym. Here is why enough quality sleep is such an important component of your workouts.
It Helps Your Muscles Grow and Recover
If you’re among the one-third of American adults who get less than seven hours of sleep per night and you’re trying to build muscle, your efforts may be fruitless. That’s because your body needs the deeper stages of the sleep cycle to help repair and regrow your muscles after a workout.
Your body actually produces the human growth hormone (HGH) as you sleep, helping your tissue and muscles recover from exercise. The N3 stage of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep is when blood flow increases to your muscles to replenish them. Once you enter the deepest stage of sleep (REM for rapid eye movement) your muscles completely relax to further repair themselves.
To reap these benefits, you need at least eight hours of sleep nightly and possibly more if you’re an athlete, especially if you plan on working out every day.
You’ll Have More Energy to Work Out
It goes without saying that getting a full night’s sleep translates into more natural energy the next day without the need to perk up with a lot of caffeine. You’ll feel more motivated to start your workout and finish it, and you’re also likely to be more coordinated. A study of college basketball players found that their shots became more accurate when they got a good night’s sleep.
You’ll Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you’ve ever gotten a case of the hungry horrors after a lousy night’s sleep, it’s not your imagination. Not getting enough sleep, even if you work out regularly, can lead to weight gain. That’s because skimping on sleep boosts the hormone ghrelin in your body. This hormone stimulates the appetite, which is why you’re likely to feel ravenous when you’re tired. Your body is literally crying out for fuel to keep it going through the day.
There is a definite connection between sleep and weight loss. People who get enough sleep are less likely to overeat and gain weight, so try to establish a bedtime routine that helps you wind down and relax.
Sleep Your Way to Better Workouts
The importance of getting enough sleep can’t be overstated if you want to lose weight, sculpt your ideal body, and increase your stamina. If you find you’re struggling to get through physical activity or to even make it to the gym, try to go to bed earlier and see what a difference it can make, not just during exercise but in your daily routine.
Elevate Fitness is the best gym in Syracuse for weight loss, personal training, group fitness, aquatics, tennis and more. Check out our list of programs to find the perfect workout for you!