Exercise and Sleep: The Three Main Things to Consider
It’s no secret that we need sleep to survive, and enough to sleep to properly function throughout the day. In fact, sleeping is as important a routine as exercise and diet in how healthy you are and how good you feel. You can do all the exercise you want and eat all the right things, but if your body doesn’t have sufficient rest then you won’t feel the full benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Humans aren’t clones of each other and there is no set model for an exact amount of sleep that everybody needs. Generally speaking, between 6 and 8 hours a night is the recommended period of sleep that we should all be getting. But within that time frame we vary massively, some people would struggle to function off 6 hours sleep, whereas for others, 8 hours is too much and can leave some feeling sluggish the next day. It’s all about listening to your body and getting the hours that you know you need. With that in mind, here are 3 ways that sleep and exercise complement each other and contribute to a healthier lifestyle:
How Exercise helps You Sleep
Physical exercise works wonders when it comes to improving the quality and length of your night’s sleep. Furthermore, when we exercise regularly we are less likely to develop sleep-related conditions such as sleep apnea and insomnia, as our bodies are accustomed to a steady rate of exercise and therefore require a steady amount of sleep. One of the key things which keeps us awake at night is stress and anxiety. Through research and countless studies, it has been proven that there is an incredibly strong link between exercise and a reduction of stress levels. This again will contribute to a better night’s sleep.
How Sleep Helps You Exercise
In the same way that exercise contributes to a better night’s sleep, so too does a good night’s sleep benefit exercise. Say you wake up on a Saturday morning and had been planning on going for a nice 5Km run, but you hadn’t slept well, you would probably not bother going on that run because you were feeling too tired. The key connection which needs to be made here is that sleep and exercise go hand-in-hand towards benefiting each other. If you sleep well, you will be able to enjoy some good quality exercise, if you exercise well, you will be able to enjoy a quality night’s sleep. Trust me, it works.
How Sleep Helps You Recover From Exercise
Sleep is also crucial to muscle recovery and building. When we sleep our bodies produce HGH (human growth hormone) which builds and rejuvenates muscles after exercise. Quite simply, the better we sleep the more our body can use the amino acids found in the protein foods we eat to produce this hormone. Furthermore, the more sleep we get, the more oxygen is delivered to our muscles, which helps break down lactic acid and allows us to train more effectively the next day. If you are looking to build muscle or just recover from your training, sleep is an essential part of the process!