How important is sleep?

If you're anything like me then you will already know that sleep is a very important part of life. I love sleep and if i don't get enough then i'm all grouchy and pretty impossible to be around.

But when it comes to the relationship between sleep and fitness, do you know just how important it is?...

Don't leave yourself short on sleep.

When we train we have a particular goal in mind. Some people want to build muscle and get bigger, some may want to lose a lot of body fat and others simply want to become fitter and live a healthier lifestyle. Whatever your goal is you must train your body, cause it physical stress and cause adaptation of one sort or another.

Whenever we cause this stress to the body we also put pressure on our CNS (Central Nervous System) The job of the CNS is complex but i always describe it to clients as the 'battery of the body'. So much data is processed through neurons, electrical signals to the brain and spinal cord, about pretty much everything from breathing to our external environment that it would take me forever to write about it i won't.

What i will say is that together with the physical stresses we put on our bodies when we train, which include muscle soreness, fatigue, growth etc...the CNS plays a big role in our progression toward our goals and should not be overlooked when it comes to rest.

Billions of neurons transmit information all over the body to help us function.

A lack of sleep can affect 2 hormones of the body, Leptin and Grehlin, which control feelings of hunger and satiety (fulness). When these hormones are affected it can lead to over-consumption of calories due to your brain not receiving the correct signals from your stomach to say that it has had enough food, and also incorrect signals to say that you're hungry more often.

Glycogen is formed from carbohydrates that are broken down into glucose and stored in the muscles and liver.Basically glycogen is your energy source and, with low levels from lack of sleep, can seriously affect whatever type of training you are doing. If we can't give 100% then our goals will take a lot longer to achieve. A good, healthy and balanced diet will ensure that your glycogen levels are always high.

From the CNS to hormones and our primary energy system, they have one thing in common...they are all affected by the amount of sleep we have. When we sleep and our brain goes into autopilot that's when our bodies get to work. Sleep enables the body to carry out the repair process on damaged muscles. HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is one of the primary compounds that helps this process to happen. Among other functions our bodies need HGH to utilise the amino acids from the protein we eat and our bloodstream is flooded with it when, you guessed it...during sleep.

Utilise sleep to get the most out of your training.

Regardless of all the science and the physiology, sleep is king when it comes to muscle growth, mood, attitude and feeling great in general. A consistent sleep pattern will always pay dividends both physically and mentally. A healthy amount of sleep ensures that our CNS gets the rest it needs in order to best serve the physical body it's paired with.

In conclusion, a poor sleep pattern leads to sub-optimal performance, a diminished attitude towards training and could lead to bad technique and injury. Muscle gain is seriously hampered and general mood and mental health can be affected. Also it can make people not want to be around you much because you're a grumpy, short tempered ogre!

Do you have problems with your sleep?

Comment below and let me know.

Preston, Lancashire

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