Is Poor Sleep Affecting Your Training?

With Christmas almost upon us, rising stress levels and a never-ending to-do list can mean sleep is even harder to come by. If you regularly have trouble dropping off or sleeping through the night, it’s not just your mood and ability to concentrate the next day that will suffer. Lack of sleep also has a huge impact on training, affecting everything from performance in the gym to post-workout recovery. Read on to find out more.

Every time you work out, you not only deplete your energy reserves and fluids, you cause microscopic damage to your muscle fibres too. Regular good quality sleep gives our bodies time to repair our muscles, while REM in particular restocks energy to both the brain and body. When we get enough sleep, the body produces hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, which are essential for contributing to the growth of lean muscle, and muscle repair, as well as regulating brain function.

Regular exercise can also affect your sleep quality by raising your body temperature by a few degrees. After you’ve worked out, your internal thermostat drops back to its normal range, which can trigger feelings of sleepiness and help you drift off to sleep. Exercising outdoors is another way to get expose yourself to natural light, a factor that plays important part in helping your body maintain its circadian rhythm and establish a good sleep-wake cycle. Adding extra ways to increase your exposure to sunlight is always a good idea; sunlight is thought to increase serotonin levels, a hormone associated with boosting mood and feelings of calm. Serotonin, as well as boosting your mood, is a precursor to melatonin, which is responsible for helping you sleep.

Poor sleep habits will also make losing those last few pounds ever harder, meaning you might try but consistently fail to reach your weight loss goals no matter how hard you push yourself in training. When you’re sleep deprived, the chemicals that signal to your body that you’re full are thrown off balance, meaning an urge to overindulge comes much easier. Lack of sleep is thought to elevate cortisol levels and it’s this raised cortisol that also directly impacts your ability to make rational decisions, including what to eat. If you’re struggling to sleep you might not only find yourself with a serious lack of motivation, you may find you struggle to get out of bed and stick to your carefully planned diet and workout routine at all.