If you are someone that cares for your looks, you might be hitting the gym every day and eating right. Do you know that sleep is one of the most important components in your bodybuilding routine? Of course, you know that sleep provides you with the energy that you need to keep up your routine, but there is much more to sleep that makes you look fit than you might imagine.
Sleep is one of the most vital functions of the organism. It keeps you mentally alert and agile. Here are the most important functions of sleep pertaining to fitness.
During the night, the body takes time to repair whatever was damaged during the day. The time that you sleep is actually a catabolic process for the muscles. However, if you take food before eating, you can increase protein synthesis while sleeping.
According to research, during the REM stage of sleep, the body is in a process of restoring bones, organs, and tissues including muscles. Any damage that was done during exercise to the muscle tissues like minor cuts and tears will be fixed and strengthened during this stage of sleep.
During sleep, there is minimal energy being used up. This saves up energy and collects more for the next day. A good night's sleep is vital for your performance in the gym the next day.
Why is alertness important for bodybuilders? Alertness has a correlation to motivation. Motivation is the most important thing when hitting the gym. When things get tough during training, it is up to the person to be motivated and mentally alert in order to stay focused on their goal. Alertness helps one make it through the tough periods when the bodybuilder is making breakthroughs.
During sleep, two important hormones are regulated. The hormones leptin and ghrelin are produced in sufficient quantities when sleeping. The hormone ghrelin is responsible for our sense of appetite. A lack of sleep can raise the levels of this hormone causing you to crave foods often and one that is not contributing to your figure.
When you get sufficient amounts of sleep, the hormone leptin is increased. This is the hormone that gives the feeling of fullness making you eat less or at least controlling your hunger so you make healthy diet choices.
Far from suspected, your hormone levels have a much greater effect on the way you look than anything else. Good sleep contributes to a healthy functioning endocrine system that is responsible for all hormone production. During sleep, the body releases IGF-1 and testosterone -- hormones that are extremely important to the growth of muscle tissue.
When sleep is not sufficient or is interrupted, these hormones can be produced in decreased quantities or come to a halt. Besides this, good sleep lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is also known to break down muscle.
Fat is the main target for those that are trying to achieve the perfect figure. Those that want to lose the extra layers of fat are going to be surprised that sleep is one of the factors for shedding extra fat.
The time during sleep is important to the release of hormones that are responsible for the restriction of glucose intake and for insulin sensitivity. Besides aiding in fat loss, this function of good sleeping habits is a preventive measure for those that are predisposed to diabetes.
If you are having trouble sleeping, consider finding ways to improve your sleep time and quality. Good practices that aid a better sleep are exercising, winding down before bedtime, or just going to bed on time. If the environment of your sleeping space is not contributing, consider renovating or buying a comfortable mattress that will not wake you up in the middle of the night. After all -- it is important to your fitness goals.