If you feel like you literally never have any energy for your workouts and you're basically dragging yourself to the gym most days with your eyes half-shut, there might be a solution that's a lot more effective than constantly reaching for your pre-workout powder or a double espresso. Sleep is the key, fam (and lots of it). If you're wondering exactly how sleep affects your workout, and you don't really buy the idea that a few more minutes of shut-eye is going to majorly up your energy levels and help you reach your fitness goals, allow me to enlighten you with some #science.
For starters, you've probably heard over and over again that getting a good night's sleep is important, and that quality shut-eye can lead to long-term health benefits like improved memory, and even a longer lifespan, just to name a couple. But we don't always remember to talk about what happens when you try to run on too little sleep, and how all those positive benefits go right down the toilet when you don't let yourself sleep as much as you should. While you might be someone who takes a bit of pride in burning the candle at both ends, let me tell you, it's not really doing you any favors in terms of your workout routine.
Increasing your sleep and making sure to hit those recommended six to eight hours a night has been proven to have incredible effects on your overall fitness.
For example, in a study performed by Stanford University's Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, a group of athletes who continued their training as usual, but simply increased the amount of sleep they got each night, experienced vast improvements in their overall fitness performance.
Moreover, according to LIVESTRONG, when you get the proper amount of shut-eye, your body releases growth hormone while you're sleeping, which helps strengthen your muscles and repair your hard-working body. So if you feel like you're sore for ages after a workout, it could just be that you're not getting the right amount of rest that your muscles need to recover properly.
Research like this really shows that, while you might look at a billion other factors to figure out why you're lacking the energy to work out, or why you're not seeing the results you want to see, it really could just boil down to something as simple as your sleep schedule.
Of course, as I'm sure you know, it's not just your physical body that can be negatively affected by constant tossing and turning at night.
A lack of sleep can affect your mental strength, meaning it can totally squash your motivation to stay active.
From a major lack of energy, to decreased focus, to lower alertness and concentration, and even slowed reaction time, it's no coincidence that you feel totally sluggish and slow in the gym when you're not sleeping enough at night.
Rest assured, even though it might feel like you can never get enough shut-eye no matter how hard you try, there are definitely ways to improve the quality of your sleep, and in turn, absolutely slay the game during your workouts. One of the biggest things that can screw with your snooze time is having your phone nearby at night, or worse, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram while you're laying in bed just before you go to sleep. Do what you can to make sure that the blue light emanating from your screen doesn't make its way into the bedroom, because it can seriously f*ck with your circadian rhythm, making it a lot more difficult to get that recommended amount of blissful sleep.
You can also try putting some soothing essential oils on your pillow, you can make sure that your room is completely dark, or you could experiment with some calming meditation before bed. All of these little things can make a huge difference in helping you sleep more soundly at night, and in turn, your workouts will be sure to improve in no time.