Sleep & Exercise Recovery - Why You Need Enough
Sleep After Working Out
lifting weights, putting in 100% effort on your job, spending time
with your family, and trying your hardest. Yet, you aren't making
gains and you're not getting any stronger. Why? You're burning the
candle at both ends. You need sleep for growth in order to become
stronger, fitter, and healthier.
Lifting Weights Doesn't Actually Make You Stronger
In your excited rush to get stronger, you might forget that it's
not the actual weight lifting that makes you stronger. The weight
lifting (or running, swimming, etc.) wears your muscles down. Then,
your body has to build them back up stronger than before. So if
you keep pushing yourself without adequate rest, especially sleep,
you'll just be driving yourself into the ground. You might even
be overtraining, which is something you really want to avoid.
Exercise & Sleep, or, Yin and Yang
It takes sleep to build your body back up more powerful than before.
Your body heals the micro-trauma that you did to the muscle cells.
If you have ever been sore and achy and then had a good 8-10 hours
of sleep, you'll know exactly what I mean. There's nothing better
than sleeping for recovery and growth.
In terms of recovery time, overall sleep and spending enough time
away from the gym will both help you. For example, with the High
Intensity Training style advocated by Doug McGuff and John Little
in their landmark book, "Body by Science", they advocate
a week or more between each weight lifting session. With good quality
sleep and enough nutrient dense food, you will provide your muscles
with enough fuel and recovery by the time you workout again. Of
course, this means pushing yourself torturously hard for the little
time when you are at the gym.
So, you might be asking, how much sleep should I be getting to
8 Hours of Cure
I know it's been said way too often before, but its very true that
a good 8 hours of sleep at night is best. I know you're too busy,
too hurried and have too much to do but I really want you to drop
you're seriously looking for growth, and putting the time into exercise
that you need, you owe it to yourself to get the sleep you need.
Make sleep a priority, just like your exercise plan.
Sleep & Weight Loss
Even if you're trying to lose weight, sleep can help you in this
area also. There's a strong correlation between sleep deprivation
and being overweight and obese. Granted, correlation doesn't equal
causation. But it's still worth noting that many of the people not
getting enough sleep are putting on the pounds.
Not getting adequate sleep for growth causes issues with your body's
hormones, especially leptin, which is responsible for regulating
metabolism and appetite. When that gets out of balance, you will
probably end up eating more and the extra food will turn straight
into body fat.
Sleep as a Supplement?
There are tons of supplements out on the market right now that promise
to give you huge muscles and help you recover faster from your workouts.
Most of them are completely worthless.
A few supplements will help you gain strength in the long term
(e.g. creatine, by supersaturating your muscles cells with glycogen),
but none help you directly grow bigger muscle tissue. Except for
the one you don't even have to pay for. You know what I'm going
to say now, right? Sleep is the only thing that will help you directly
grow bigger muscles. It does this by giving you the time for your
body to actually recover and build them bigger. It's dirt cheap
and it will help you immensely. More so than all the ginseng, special
tonics and strange pills out there.
Okay, here's your secret technique for sleep, its called napping!
This is for those times when you have so much going on that you
can't get your full nights sleep and you desperately need a pick-me-up.
Taking a nap will help you get your needed sleep for growth, and
it doesn't take very long. It can be as long as an hour or two,
or as short as 10 minutes of shuteye.
Don't underestimate napping! It's a great way to get in the sleep
you need, despite the bad reputation it has received these days.
A quick nap in the middle of the day will recharge you, help you
grow and recover, and can also be very satisfying.
Don't play the masochistic "I'm working harder than you and
I only got 5 hours of sleep" games and one-upmanship. It isn't
So, What Should You Do?
Make sure you sleep to get the most out of what you're doing when
you're awake. You aren't wasting time, you're putting it to the
best use you can when you sleep for growth. It's an incredibly simple
way to keep growing from your intense workouts.
By Aaron McCloud