The Importance of Sleep When Sticking to a Fitness Plan
After a bad night’s sleep I can’t be the only one who isn’t a pleasure to be around. Groggy, lazy, and even a bit sad, bad sleep can leave you feeling all types of ways. This is why although sleep isn’t part of most fitness plans, it’s the secret element that is even more essential than completing your reps and sets for each workout. Below I explore the importance of sleep when sticking to a fitness plan and how it can help you stay motivated and reach your goals.
More sleep = less stress
To take it back to the basics, when we don’t get enough sleep or have a bad quality sleep, our body produces more cortisol (the main stress hormone). Too much cortisol over a long period of time can result in weight gain, depression, headaches and more.
Ever felt extremely run down after a few nights of interrupted sleep? Feeling like a hangover even though you’re 99% sure you stayed off the beers? Well, it turns out sleep is essential for the maintenance of a good immune system. During sleep our bodies release cytokines and antibodies which help regulate our immune systems. They’re essential elements that help us feel better when we’re under the weather. So a lack of sleep can lead to a lack of these and therefore leaving us feeling unwell for longer than expected.
More sleep = less weight
It may sound crazy, but it has been proven that people are more likely to be overweight if they get less sleep. Do you ever feel more hungry when tired? Crave sugar and feel like you’re never full? This is pretty normal as when we get less sleep it impacts our hormonal balance which effects our appetites. Leptin and ghrelin are the top hormones that regulate our appetite. Leptin suppresses our appetite and helps us use energy. Whereas, ghrelin keeps us feeling hungry. When we don’t get enough sleep our leptin levels are lowered and our ghrelin levels increase, leaving us with bigger appetites.
Proper insulin function
Insulin is essential for turning glucose into energy. Research has shown that sleep helps to prevent us from insulin deficiencies which can result in high blood sugar and unbalanced hormones.
More sleep = better physical health
Sleep is the time our body needs to heal and recover from the day before. This is even more significant when you’re regularly exercising and sticking to a fitness plan. Some of the magic that happens during sleep includes recharging the cardiovascular system and healing damaged cells. All this results in us waking up the next day feeling as fresh as a daisy ready for another workout.