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How You Can Use Sleep to Optimize Your Fitness

By April 28, 2017Live, Move

7 is the magic number.

You need three 7’s to win the jackpot, but more importantly, A typical person needs 7 hours of sleep to allow the body to rest and function normally for the next day.

For those of you pursuing fitness goals, rest is a strong part of the equation. Whether you’re working out before the sun rises, when the sun sets, or any time in between, your workout has a heavy toll on the body physically. During your workouts, you are tearing up your muscles (literally) within a short time period. Each set, each rep, or each minute of cardio consumes your body’s energy. So, (you guessed it) you need to replenish that energy somehow. Sleep will always be vital for your health and for recovery.

Many of you gym junkies might think that putting in the work is all you need. But it’s actually what happens outside of the gym that can truly affect the results of your work. 

When you sleep, your body is put into standby mode. Everything is lowered, from energy consumption to the speed of your breathing and the rate of your heartbeat. This is the time for recovery! Growth hormones are released improving the muscular regeneration process, as well as during protein synthesis. Human growth hormone is secreted, and it helps to build up those muscles you worked so hard to tear down.

There are many stages in our sleep cycle, but the REM stage is one of the few stages when the body and brain are at a complete rest period. It accounts for an approximate 25% of your daily sleep and this is actually where humans see extreme growth differences from baby to adulthood (and from smaller muscles to stronger ones). This stage of the sleep is, without a doubt, vital for growth.

Now, we get to the real question. How much sleep do you actually need?

The main determinant of how long you should sleep is whether or not you are active that day.

The general recommended sleep for an average person is anywhere from seven to nine hours. In some studies, however, athletes saw increased performance in their athletic activities when they in fact slept for an average of 10 hours.

But getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done. 

To enhance your performance at the gym, you can try some of these tactics (taken from the habits of athletes) to ensure you really do get a good night’s sleep.

7 Tips for the Best Nights Sleep

1. Sleeping at much cooler temperatures.

From personal experience, sleeping at cold temperatures after a hard day of training helped ease the soreness that came with the workout.

2. Take a warm bath.

This can help to ease and relax your muscles to get you all toasty and ready for a good night’s sleep.

3. Never go to bed hungry.

Eating a meal before sleeping is vital as your hunger can keep you up at night.

4. Unplug.

Turn off the electronics! Seriously. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can wait till tomorrow.

For more, here are some tips on how to get to bed earlier and faster. And if you’re reading this late at night, close your laptop and get to bed!

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Citations:

  • Robson, David. “The Importance of Sleep.”org, 14 Feb. 2017, https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson5.htm. Accessed 23 Mar. 2017.
  • Michelson, Megan. “How Elite Athletes Use Sleep Routines to Boost Their Confidence and Win Medals.”Van Wickle’s, 22 Feb. 2016, https://vanwinkles.com/how-sleep-is-helping-our-elite-athletes-push-harder. Accessed 23 Mar. 2017.
  • “Why Athletes Perform Better When They Sleep Cool.”ChiliTechnology, 14 Aug. 2015, https://www.chilitechnology.com/blogs/chili-technology-blog/why-athletes-perform-better-when-they-sleep-cool. Accessed 23 Mar. 2017.

Author Syed Muhtasim

Hi guys my name is Syed and I'm currently in my third year at Stony Brook University. In a campus with so much to do, you can find me in the recreational center on a consistent basis or searching up new ideas and new ways to push my limits and get stronger. Off the weights, you can find me studying, doing research, and working on my way to becoming a dentist. On my free time, I love to eat as cheesecake is my weakness and I love comedy. A lot of people think I look like Aziz Anzari but really I look more like Chris hemsworth!

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