Sleep for Gains

     Is your workout helping your sleep? Are you sleeping enough to help your workouts? According to Stats Canada, one in three Canadians are sleep deprived (7-9 hours is the recommended amount). Canada is actually the third most sleep deprived country in the world (behind the UK and Ireland). Since you’re getting this blog, it’s safe to assume that you are among the 20% of Canadians who exercise ‘regularly’, which means, sleep is super important for you.

     As I’m sure you know, sleep is the best way to conserve energy, and of course repair tissue in the body. This is key for anyone who works out, and getting the right amount of sleep is even more important when you train regularly. Essentially, the more you workout, the more sleep your body needs. Seems obvious right? The not so obvious part is that a good workout can actually help you sleep better. Studies have shown that intense exercise can lead to deeper sleep, and consistent exercise has been shown to reduce insomnia by reducing your stress levels, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.

     To get the full benefits of your sleep and exercise combo, here are a few other things you can do to help improve your ‘Workout to Lights-out’ routine:
AM Cardio, PM Weights
     Not a deal breaker, but hitting your cardio circuit in the morning and your weights at night is another way to improve your sleep. Most people who run in the mornings spend more time in the deep sleep cycle, and the same is for those who do their lifting at night. Lifting weights in the morning is fine too, but evening workouts that make you sweat, may make it harder for you to get to sleep. Our bodies temperature usually drops at bedtime, which is what signals our system to fall asleep. A cardio workout will keep your body temperature higher for longer, which is why your evening workout should be lifting. I would recommend doing them both in the morning and get it over with, but don’t be afraid to lift that heavy weight at night.

Evening Protein Shake
     Are you a late night eater? Put the dessert away and treat yourself to a late night protein shake. Why? When you consume protein, it breaks down into amino acids in your body which help build your muscles. Typically, we only consume protein with meals and don’t eat close to bedtime, so there aren't a lot of amino acids available to your body for overnight muscle growth. Drink a shake close to bedtime and make gains while you sleep.

Sleep Earlier
     This seems like an obvious one, but people who sleep just 30 minutes earlier are said to have better workouts. Sleep, or lack of sleep, actually affects your perception of how difficult a workout is. When you’re tired, your brain will automatically do its best to convince you to save your stored energy, which could mean making a workout seem more difficult than it is (which then makes your trainer mad, then they make you do burpees to ‘snap out of it’ and on and on...vicious cycle). Getting to bed 30 minutes earlier is enough to tackle the workout the next day.
     So turn off that Netflix, make a shake, tuck the kids in bed 30 minutes earlier, and get that sleep to make those gains!

Written By Kevin Yeboah
Strength and Conditioning Specialist


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