Most people know that exercise improves the quality of your sleep, it makes sense really, if you've been more active, then you will need more rest. But what about the other way around? Do you know how much sleep can affect your workouts, can aid in your recovery and help to build muscles?
According to researchers, deep sleep helps to improve athletic performance because this is the time when growth hormone is released, and it's the growth hormone that stimulates muscle growth and repair, bone building, and fat burning.
If you want to get the most out of the gym and get the most out of your sleep and recovery, then it's important that you make sleep a priority in your training schedule. It's just as important as what you eat and drink, so make a point of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day so that you're in a good routine.
According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, it's not just about your physical performance in the gym, either as adequate sleep has been proven to help motivate people to stick to their exercise plans and work out the next day. The more sleep time individuals in this study got, the more likely they were to complete their exercise regimen. Not only that, but research in the European Journal of Applied Physiology says that even after just one night of not sleeping, endurance performance on a treadmill decreases, and this is likely because it feels so much tougher.
So what should you eat to make sure that you get a good night's sleep? There are four main vitamins and minerals that can be found in food that aid in promoting sleep, and these are tryptophan, magnesium, calcium, and B6. Some of these help the body produce melatonin which is the hormone that is responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm or what you might know as your sleep/wake patterns. Some of the best foods loaded with tryptophan include dairy products, poultry, seafood, nuts, and seeds. Legumes, fruits, vegetables, and grains, so these are good to eat before bed. You also need magnesium as a lack of this mineral, which is often referred to as the sleep mineral, which can be directly linked to difficulty going and staying asleep. You can get magnesium from dark leafy greens (baby spinach, kale, collard greens), nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, flaxseed, pecans), wheat germ, fish (salmon, halibut, tuna, mackerel), soybeans, banana, avocados, and low-fat yogurt.
Calcium also helps the brain make melatonin, so again eat dark leafy greens, drink low-fat milk and eat cheeses, yogurt, sardines, fortified cereals, soybeans.
Having time to recover is just as important as actually doing your workout, so do make time to relax and rest; otherwise, you won't be able to perform at your best in the gym and achieve the results you want.