The most important thing, outside of exercising is sleep. We already know how important sleep is, just for the sake of survival. When it comes to increasing your gains, sleeping is crucial. Lack of sleep is one of the largest risk factors in obesity. Sleep deprivation leads to several “breakdowns”, here are the most important ones:
Negative Impact On Performance
If you ever go to the practice feeling tired and sleepy, cause you did not have enough sleep, chances are you won’t be doing half as much work as you normally would. Studies on sleep found that subjects chronically lacking the proper rest had significantly slower reaction times on the psychomotor vigilance test. Slower alertness means both lower mental and motor capacity.
Plus, studies found sleep deprivation increases the number of mistakes people make, leading to a possible increase in injuries. Sleep deprivation does not affect your peak capabilities, meaning you still can push heavy weights or perform at high intensity, but you will get tired quicker. Researchers believe this is cause when sleep deprived, people tend to have trouble metabolizing glucose.
Since glucose is important for energy, not being able to break glucose down means your energy levels will be breaking down instead.
Outside of performance, sleep plays the ever crucial role in balancing hormones. When we slumber our body releases high amounts of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and IGF-1. You have probably heard of testosterone before and its close relationship with building muscle. When rest is disrupted, especially when disrupting the first cycle of REM sleep, the release of this ever-important hormones takes much longer.
This can disrupt the body’s ability to build and repair muscle while resting, and even worse a study found that subject suffering from sleep apnea had lower levels of overall testosterone. A combination that for sure will reduce your gains.
One thing that sleep is also good for, is bringing down the levels of muscle breaking hormones, as known as catabolism. Cortisol, the main culprit of these hormones remain elevated whenever you do not get a good night rest. The time you nap matters too. Why?
Even if you are getting the proper amount of rest studies have found that people snoozing in the daytime were not able to bring down cortisol levels, as much as people snoozing regular hours of the night. This is because there is a connection between cortisol secretion and the natural clock in which your body operates on known as the circadian rhythm. You night owls might be losing more muscle mass.
Can It Help Lose Weight?
Even if you are not trying to gain, catching some z’s helps you lose the right type of weight. When compared to people that slept 5 and a half hours per night, people that slept 8 hours per night lost the same amount of weight, but they lost 55% more fat while preserving 60% more muscle. It is almost like you are sleeping your fat away.
Multitude studies have shown that lack of sleep increased levels of the appetite raising hormone ghrelin while decreasing leptin, the hormone responsible for making you feel full. So less sleep can equal to more eating and a bigger belly.
Get your rest, and get enough of it.