Today’s guest post is from Reda El, owner, fitness fanatic and entrepreneur over at Shreddedphysique.com. More on his experience as a BJJ blue Belt and the information he’s learned about the value of sleep can be found on his website.
People often say there’s not much that a good night’s sleep can’t cure. And for the most part, they’re absolutely right. When we’re young children, we hate the thought of going to bed, and can’t wait to get up the next day.Once we become teenagers, we would ideally live in bed if we could. And when we reach twenty plus, we often find ourselves somewhere in the middle.
Not getting enough sleep, however, generally sucks and leaves us feeling tired, drained, and unmotivated. Studies have also revealed that a lack of sleep can have serious health consequences and can also lead to premature death.
In Japan, for example, a number of studies carried out by experts, revealed that those who regularly got less than seven hours of sleep each night, would, on average, live around twelve years less than those who got between seven and nine hours each night.
From a bodybuilding and athletic standpoint, sleep is insanely important for so many different reasons.
People often wonder, “can sleep improve muscle growth?”
The answer is most certainly yes.
Here’s a look at a few ways in which sleep improves muscle growth, plus some more general health benefits along the way.
Sleep Aids in Recovery
First and foremost, the most important benefit associated with sleep from a bodybuilding standpoint is the fact that it plays a vital role in muscle repair and recovery. And seriously, sleeping is one of the best ways to boost testosterone.
People assume that we build muscle in the gym, but that is not the case at all, in fact, it is the exact mirror opposite.
You see, when we lift weights, we aren’t building muscle at all. We’re actually destroying it. It is when we rest and relax that we build muscle, provided we have enough nutrients. When we sleep, our bodies begin to repair damaged muscle tissue which we destroyed in the gym during our workout.
The body decides to rebuild this muscle tissue, bigger and stronger than it once was, in order to attempt to offer additional protection in the future. f we aren’t getting enough sleep each night, we simply won’t be able to build as much muscle as we would if we were to get more sleep.
Ideally, the optimal amount is between 7 and 9 hours each night.
Sleep Recharges the Brain
Another key benefit associated with getting a good night’s sleep is the fact that sleep helps to recharge our brains, keeping them fit and healthy at all times, which is also very important from a fitness perspective.
The brain contains a neurotransmitter known as adenosine, which plays a vital role in the production of ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) which is a primary energy source for the cells within the muscles. The more energy the muscles have, the more efficient your workouts will become. Other hormones are also produced within the brain, many of which help to enhance mental clarity and focus.
Serotonin is produced in the brain, a hormone which actually helps you get to sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain will struggle to produce hormones like serotonin, which means you will actually find it harder to sleep. The whole process becomes one vicious circle.
Sleep Improves Performance
Another key benefit associated with sleep is the fact that sleep helps us to perform better in the gym.
Let’s face it, when you wake up after a poor night’s sleep, the last thing you want to do is force yourself through a strenuous workout in the gym.
If you wake up feeling refreshed and revitalised, however, your energy and motivation levels will be sky high. You will also be able to think clearer and focus much more efficiently. This is why athletes and sportsmen have curfews leading up to big games and events – to ensure that they perform at their best on the day.
If somebody asks how can sleep improve muscle growth, one of the main reasons is the fact that it makes you more efficient in the gym. You will have more energy. You will feel stronger. You will be more focused. And you will actually enjoy your training as well.
Sleep Boosts the Immune System
Ok, this is not only beneficial to a person from a fitness perspective, it is beneficial from a health perspective as well.
The immune system keeps the body fit and healthy, protecting against illness and disease. This is important if you wish to remain consistent with your training, because even with a common cold, training in the gym can be a real chore, and there is the risk of the virus getting into your muscles, which is why you shouldn’t actually train at all when you’re ill.
As sleep helps to boost the immune system, it can ensure you don’t miss any time in the gym, which can only be beneficial.