Sure, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your quality of sleep. In this regard, individual needs vary. In the same way, the number of hours everyone needs may not be the same. In fact, the jury is out on whether sleeping in eight-hour blocks is better or two four hour blocks. It’s no wonder challenges with sleep run rampant.
Most sleep experts agree that adults need around 7-8 hours a day to function. This, unfortunately, is not what most adults are getting.
Sleep volume matters for all fitness goals, whether they be performance related, fat loss, muscle gain, or even goals based on behavioral changes. Here’s why…
Sports performance goals
You don’t have to be a coach or sports medicine graduate to know that performance mandates recovery. If you play, you rest, no two ways about it.
For younger adults, they find they can sometimes run on less sleep. Their bodies feel like a car full of gas. They can just slam the accelerator without concern. Low on sleep, they may still play alright for awhile, but it catches up.
Don’t want to rest after practice because there’s a party? Hopefully, that scholarship doesn’t require you to play at your best.
Fat Loss goals
Here’s a simple illustration of how sleep impacts fat loss goals. When the day is over, your dopamine levels may drop. This is the normal process of your body letting you know it’s sleep time.
Some people choose to ignore this. They stay up, then feel urges to snack. Choices made when your dopamine levels are low will be your worst choices.
Add to that, when you sleep you can’t eat. Every hour of Zs is one you won’t eat unless you’re a sleep eater. I can’t solve that one. Go see your doctor.
Muscle Gain goals
Repair of tissue, valuable to not just gainers, but especially gainers, happens when we sleep.
Lifting weights creates microscopic tears in the tissue. Repair of these tears is what leads to growth if you’re feeding your body with calories and rest.
Actually, muscle tissues repair all day, but sleep time is the most critical time for repair.
Come up short, then you will feel run down. You may even feel too weak to train or think about eating correctly.
These are my favorite. If you want your best chance of [brace for fancy term] morphological changes, you have to create a habit that sticks.
The old adage is 21-days to start a habit. That’s a made up number. There is no number. Habits are what you do repeatedly. They can always change. Only you will ever know when something is part of your routine.
In the short run, the most important contributor to making exercise a habit is your sleep. If you’re not adequately rested, you’ll skip your workout, plain and simple.
Like the foundation of a house, if your sleep is not adequate, then you will find your fitness results frustrating. Try as you might to affect change, you are up against a much more important priority without sufficient sleep.
How you get those precious hours is completely in your hands.