Want to see better results from your weight training? Want to curb impulsive eating habits? Want to have more clarity in decision making? All of these things involve getting a quality amount of sleep every night. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of adults in the U.S. report that they get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. Because of this, it is important to understand the potential impact that lack of sleep may have on our holistic health.
7-9 hours of sleep per night is crucial, especially if you are looking to change body composition and/or increase muscle mass. During Non- REM sleep (which takes up about 40% of your sleep per night) your brain is resting with very little activity, so the blood supply available to your muscles increases, delivering extra amounts of oxygen and nutrients which facilitate their healing and growth.
Cognitive Function/Mental Health
Loss of sleep is associated with a decline in cognitive function. This can have adverse effects on athletes whose sports require a high level of cognitive function, such as decision making and adapting to new situations. This will effect quick hand/eye coordination, the ability to pick up a new move or remember the training plan that has been laid out for the day. Research suggests that the relationship between sleep and mental health is complex. While sleep has long been known to be a consequence of many psychiatric conditions, more recent views suggest that sleep can also play a causal role in both the development and maintenance of different mental health problems.
Male and female swimmers who extended their sleep to 10 hours also saw many performance improvements. Reaction times off diving blocks were faster9, turn times were improved, and kick strokes increased. Times swimming a 15-meter sprint also improved. Additionally, these athletes experienced improved mood and decreased daytime sleepiness and fatigue. -Study done by the Sleep Foundation. Keep in mind that the amount of hours of sleep mentioned above is recommended for professional athletes to reach peak performance. For those of us who train anywhere between 3-5 days a week, 7-9 hours a night is sufficient.
A lack of sleep has been found to trigger increased levels of ghrelin and decreased levels of leptin3, leading to increased hunger and appetite. This makes overeating more likely, especially since more time awake creates increased opportunities to eat.
Hopefully this information is helpful in driving you to set sleep as a high priority in your life.
Get some solid z's by setting up a bedtime reminder on your phone so that you can get a consistent amount of rest every night to operate as your best self.