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Sleep & Recovery

Sleep & Recovery

The Important relationship between sleep, fitness, and recovery. Improve your sleep, improve your workout recovery.

Sleep: the missing link to health and recovery

Sleep is a vital, yet often neglected, element of everyone’s health and wellbeing. Without enough sleep, everything from your mood to your appetite gets thrown off. In addition to typical symptoms of sleep deprivation — like crankiness and cravings — you may also experience a decline in workout recovery.

What to know about sleep

What to know about sleep

The quality of your sleep governs the quality of your life. There is no way to skirt that. High-quality sleep dictates whether you’re able to navigate mental and physical challenges the next day, and chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a host of emotional and physiological problems.

How sleep affects workout recovery

How sleep affects workout recovery

During sleep, your body doesn’t just go dormant — it spends those seven to nine hours performing all sorts of critical bodily functions to prepare your body for the next day. Muscle repair and a boosted immune system are just a couple ways sleep supports fitness recovery.

Most muscle repair happens during sleep

Most muscle repair happens during sleep

Your body is always hard at work repairing the microtraumas your muscles endure from intense exercise. However, it works hardest at this process while you’re fast asleep. Studies show that the bulk of muscle protein synthesis — the process of taking available protein and using it to build or repair muscle tissue — happens during sleep.

Lack of sleep lowers insulin sensitivity

Lack of sleep lowers insulin sensitivity

Insulin is responsible for taking sugar from your blood and moving it into body cells. Poor insulin sensitivity can interfere with glycogen replenishment (the process of replenishing the stored carbohydrates in your muscles that your body uses up during exercise). And with low glycogen stores, your body won’t recover as well or have as much available energy to use during your next workout.

The body releases important hormones during sleep

The body releases important hormones during sleep

Researchers believe that sleep positively affect muscle recovery and athletic performance largely due to the fact that growth hormone is produced and circulated at night. This typically happens during deep sleep, so if you don’t get enough slow-wave sleep, you may find yourself battling chronic soreness and muscle fatigue.

Things to consider

Things to consider

While sleep is clearly indispensable, you shouldn’t try to force it. Everyone experiences sleeplessness from time to time, and you could make it worse by attempting to sleep when your body just isn’t ready. If you find yourself restless, get out of bed and try calming activities like stretching or reading a book (an actual book — not on a device!).

Frequently asked questions

  • How Much Sleep Should You Get Each Night?

    Everyone has different sleep needs, but in general, you should aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. It’s true that some people are genetically predisposed to be “short sleepers” and can thrive on six or fewer hours of sleep. But most people need seven to nine, and some require more than nine hours of sleep to function at their very best.

  • Do You Need More Sleep If You Exercise?

    This depends on the intensity and duration of your workouts. You probably don’t need to increase your sleep duration if you’re doing low-intensity workouts like walking or yoga, or doing anything in line with your current fitness level. However, if you suddenly increase the intensity or length of your workouts — for instance, if you usually run three miles and today you ran six — you might need to get extra sleep. Your body will probably give you signs that indicate so, such as brain fog or short attention span.

  • Why Is Sleep Important for Athletic Performance?

    Sleep is absolutely essential for athletic performance due not only to its affect on workout recovery, but also its impact on mood, motivation, accuracy, endurance, and more. In fact, some studies have shown that lack of sleep negatively impacts the speed of sprinters, the accuracy of tennis players, and the strength of weightlifters. If that doesn’t encourage to to hit the hay early tonight, we don’t know what will!

Learn more about sleep and exercise recovery

  • Relieve Stress and Sleep Better With Percussive Therapy

Keys to recovery

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