I think most of us have heard that quality sleep is important for our overall well being. You may also know that a lot of us don’t get enough sleep (including yourself?). In fact, according to the CDC, at least 30 percent of the U.S. is sleep deprived, so you/we are far from alone.   

However, (since this is a fitness blog, not a sleep blog!) is there a connection between sleep and our fitness routines and levels? The short answer is yes (no surprise) – getting the right amount of sleep can help our bodies recover after a tough workout. Furthermore, a tough workout can help us sleep better at night.

Here is some more information to ponder:

Regular Exercise

Adenosine, the same chemical that caffeine blocks to make us feel more awake (and many of us know about the effect of coffee!), is released during physical activity. The release of this chemical facilitates sleep. Fitting in exercise on a regular basis also helps our bodies maintain a good internal clock or circadian rhythm. President of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine W. Chris Winter, MD states that “Exercise helps your body understand the schedule it’s on; and morning exercise primes your body to sleep better at night.” Those of you who prefer to exercise at night needn’t worry since those who choose to work out in the evening also have an easier time falling asleep.

Sleep Improving Workouts

Achieving better rest helps our mind and body perform better in all aspects of our lives. When well rested, our bodies wake up with more drive to maximize workout efforts, due to an increase in concentration, mood, and focus. On the other hand, it is harder to complete a workout if you don’t get enough sleep because we tend to fatigue faster. Sleep alone won’t improve our physical abilities (if it did, some of us might be taking many more naps!),  but I think it’s fair to say that but it will help us get the most out of our visits to the gym.   

So – in conclusion – maintaining a proper sleep schedule and getting the right amount of z’s each night helps us in so many aspects of our lives, including fitness. Regular exercise helps us sleep better and more time in the gym is related to overall better health. Make sure to keep this in mind the next time you do a workout!