Sleep is something we all need, most of us however, can admit that either we aren’t hitting our 8-10 hours each night, or the quality of our sleep is lacking. When we aren’t getting enough sleep it’s too easy to make excuses and accept it as normal and continue to push through each day fatigued and foggy. Something we often don’t think about though, is how our sleep may be impacting our success in the gym and we fail to recognise it as a barrier to reaching our goals.
Why is good quality sleep and rest crucial for maximising performance in the gym?
- Improves rate of recovery allowing the body to heal quicker, this allows you to progress the intensity and load of our training quicker
- Improves regulation of your central nervous system which allows your heart and muscles to function better when training
- Increases cognitive function which allows you to maintain better focus during your session
- Reduced energy stores from poor sleep are associated with increased risk of injury
How to identify when poor sleep may be a barrier to your training outcomes?
- You’re frequently canceling sessions due to fatigue
- You’re not able to complete all your exercises or increase the load of your exercises due to feeling too tired
- You’re struggling to complete exercise at home outside of your sessions times because you’re too tired
- Overall motivation towards exercise is low due to fatigue
How exercise can actually improve our sleep and overall energy?
- Increases the duration in which your body is in a state of deep sleep
- Increases the rate at which you fall asleep
- Prevents your body from releasing melatonin (hormone that signals your body to sleep) too early so you don’t feel sleepy in the afternoon
Tips for better sleep in general
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee in the afternoon or evening
- Set a relaxing routine before bed that primes your body for rest eg. Turning off the lights, or reading a book
- Try and maintain a consistent bedtime
- Right before you go to sleep practise a mindfulness activity just as a breathing exercise, meditation or a sleep story
- Ensure your bedroom is cool