It's time to mix things up.
For many of us, the modern-day consists of prolonged wakefulness, high levels of stress and sub-par sleeping patterns.
Your training could be on point, but without sufficient sleep, you could be undermining your body.
Your body recovers during sleep, fact.
The result of lifting heavier and harder each session, is the breakdown of muscle fibres. These muscle fibres grow back bigger and stronger to help us lift more volume each workout.
As you continue to break down muscle fibres in the hope of rebuilding stronger, bigger and more defined muscles, alongside increasing athletic performance, it becomes even more crucial to ensure you're getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. Giving your body and mind the time it needs to fight fatigue, through adequate rest and recovery.
How many hours should you be sleeping each night?
The National Sleep Foundation states teenagers require 8-10 hours of sleep each night, whilst young adults and adults require 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Here are five ways that sleep can supercharge your workout
Challenging our physical fitness is what we do. Without sufficient recovery, our goals will soon drift out of our reach. Alongside consuming the correct nutrients from our diet, we also need to get our nightly kip to help our body to continue building strength and repairing.
The brain releases the majority of our Human Growth Hormone (HGH) during sleep, a complex protein that seeps into the bloodstream and works repair our bodies tissues.
Want to come back stronger each session? Rest up.
Sleep deprivation directly affects the brain and body, impacting their daily function.
Strong evidence through research states that sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain and, according to examine.com(1); reducing your time asleep has a direct relation to an increase in appetite.
So, put simply, a decrease in sleep can lead to an increase in body fat. Often through the adjustment in hormones from sleep deprivation, which leads to a voluntary increase in calorie consumption (because we feel hungry, even though we're not)(2).
Hitting the gym hard is great, but if you're turning into a gremlin when it comes to snacks and meals, you could be undoing all your hard work!
You might be able to pull through a day or two of reduced sleep, but sooner or later, those 4-hour kips before the alarm bursts your eardrums will catch up to you.
Consistency is key and building a regular sleep pattern is crucial to keep your body clock in check and hit that golden number of 8-9 hours sleep each night.
If you get up at 5 am for work, hit the pillow a little earlier. If you're a student or work from home, build a habit and work towards a time you can regularly wake up at each day.
Reaching Peak Athletic Performance
Consider yourself an athlete? A study conducted on collegiate basketball players showed improvements in specific measures of performance following an increase in the participant's sleep times(3).
Whether you are hitting the weights, going out for a run or stepping on to a football pitch surrounded by 60,000 fans; sleep has a contributing factor to your athletic performance.
Sometimes our physical state gets so much attention, we neglect our mental health. A crucial part of our day-to-day life, and the way we perform in the gym.
"Sleep is essential for cognitive performance, especially memory consolidation" - Maquet P
Lack of motivation or focus in the gym? Loading up on pre-workout may not be the answer, instead, take a look at your sleep pattern and quality. Our brain is a muscle too and without sufficient rest and recovery, our decision making, focus and mental strength can become negatively impacted.
One last rep right?... If your brain and body are fatigued, it will probably say no.