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Strength Training and Sleep: A Partnership For Progress And Success

The significance of sleep is not a novel notion. In fact, has been written about and discussed for over a century. As our health improves, we become better athletes, and as athletes improve, we can train more regularly and vigorously, resulting in higher outcomes.

So, why focus on sleep for muscles?

It is necessary for muscle rehabilitation. You can work out all day without making any progress if you don't get enough rest and nutrients. Proper sleep hygiene is crucial for muscle development and recuperation.

In this article, we'll break down why sleep is so important for muscle healing and how to improve your sleep hygiene.

How much sleep do I need?

There are general guidelines provided by the National Sleep Foundation for 7-9 hours of sleep, but understanding your sleep needs based on your body's personal needs will vary based on your lifestyle. If you are training multiple times a day and working long hours outside of the gym, then you may need more than the recommended 7-9 hours.

What Happens to Our Muscles When We Work Out

  • Micro-damage in muscle tissue and damage to the complex protein chains in muscles happens during strenuous workouts

  • Reactive oxygen species, a chemical in the body, floods the damaged area and causes more damage, but in a good way.

  • The presence of these chemicals triggers an inflammatory response to the damage. This is the sore muscle you may feel.

  • The inflammation stimulates the brain to signal repair for muscle damage.

  • The response from the brain creates growth factors to form muscle fibers and replace the damaged proteins.

  • This process as time progresses produces greater muscle mass and strength.

The Science Behind Muscle Recovery:

Without the proper amount of sleep, the body's systems will not work as efficiently. Glucose management, blood pressure, cognitive processes, and even hormone-related functions can become hazardous without enough sleep. Scientists have found significant cortisol (the stress hormone) increase and decrease in testosterone and insulin in sleep-deprived study participants. Sleep is so vital, in fact, that it has a direct influence on the most important aspect of muscle recovery: insulin. Insulin's function is to transport amino acids into cells for utilization in protein synthesis and storage. The sleep deficit decreases the activity of protein synthesis pathways while increasing the activity of degradation pathways, promoting muscle mass loss and hindering muscle recovery after exercise, traumas, and certain disorders linked with muscular atrophy.

Additional Fitness Benefits Of A Healthy Sleep Schedule

  • Improved Muscle Coordination-Sleep increases athletic performance by improving the coordination and function of our muscles and muscular action patterns. During sleep, the brain is able to download critical movement patterns to brain circuitry and catalogs them in movement and premovement sectors of the brain. In a study on sleep as an indicator for athletic performance, athletes that extended their daily sleep to 10 hours swam faster and increased the number of kicks in a set distance by an average of 5.

  • Prevents illness-When you don't get enough sleep, your infection-fighting antibodies and cells are weakened. Sleep deprivation over an extended period of time raises your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.

  • Improved Reaction Times-​​Reaction time is defined as the amount of time it takes to respond to a stimulus. Studies that analyze poor sleep health and performance have found that the time awake is connected to reaction time. Sleep-deprived individuals have slower reaction times that lead to errors or added times in their sport. As the sleep deficit continues to increase for individuals, reaction times continue to increase.

Sleep is a significant factor in achieving peak performance

5 Things You Can Do Tonight To Get Better Sleep

  • Make your room a relaxing restful setting. Shut down all electronics. Make your room dark, quiet, and cool.

  • Set an earlier bedtime. Starting this habit will allow your body to adjust and come to expect that extra hour of sleep you are gifting it.

  • Watch what you eat and drink. Being overly full or hungry can keep you from falling asleep. Avoid caffeine from the late afternoon on since it can take hours for it to wear off. It is worth noting that even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it actually can throw off the sleep cycles your body goes through each night.

  • Nap sparingly. Long naps during the day can impede your nighttime sleep. If you are napping, keep your naps no longer than 30 minutes and definitely not in the late afternoon.

  • Destress your day. A wandering and stressed brain keeps you from sleeping. Try to journal your worries and make a bulleted list of the things you need to tackle the following day.

"If people understood how much of a difference getting more sleep could make athletically, they'd incorporate it into their lives and not focus solely on nutrition and exercise." Cheri Mah, Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory

A balanced diet and regular exercise are necessary for developing into a great athlete. However, sleep is the third component of the muscle-building trifecta. In fact, without it, diet and exercise progress will suffer. Sleep is recognized as one of the most crucial components in physical recuperation, particularly after exercising. Sleep is not only necessary for rehabilitation; it may also save you from being wounded in the first place During the deepest stages of sleep, growth hormones are produced and stimulate the release of protein-building amino acids into the bloodstream, enabling muscles to become bigger and stronger over time. Healthy sleep hygiene will improve muscle growth and aid recovery.

At Liftology, we understand how to push the body and how to encourage rest and recuperation, If you are ready to work with our professionals, reach out today. We curate a program individually for each of our clients. Allow us to help you achieve your fitness goals with us at Liftology.

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