How Much Sleep Do I Need?

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Staff Writer
8 minute read

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Sleep Benefits for Athletes, Runners, Cyclists, Weightlifters & More!

How Does Sleep Benefit Your Health And Overall Fitness?

Sleep is essential for good health. It helps our bodies repair themselves after exercise, improves our mood, and boosts our energy levels. It is crucial for both our physical and emotional well-being and can help us make gains in the gym but how much sleep do I need?

What Takes Place While We Sleep?

When we sleep, we do more than just snore and drift off to dreamland. We are hard at work doing many different tasks that keep us healthy and strong. 

Before bed, as it gets dark outside, our bodies begin creating specific hormones that prepare us for sleep. Our heart rate starts to slow, our breathing gets deeper and slower, our blood pressure drops, and our body temperature goes down. Our muscles also relax and receive more blood during the various, deeper stages of sleep that we experience throughout the night. When this happens, tissues start to heal and produce new muscle and tissue fibers. Our immune system is boosted, and our lacking energy levels are restored, giving us the energy we need for the next day!

During sleep, our bodies also produce and regulate specific hormones directly related to weight loss. Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that affect our hunger cues. Without a proper night’s rest, we may find ourselves ravenous and fighting off unnecessary cravings the next day.

What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Sleep?

Not getting enough sleep can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. It also affects your ability to perform at work and school. We will feel groggy and tired when we wake up in the morning after a poor night's sleep. Our memory will be affected as our brain cannot store and formulate new information and ideas. We won't have the energy to get through our daily tasks, let alone hit the gym for a good workout. We might suffer extreme hunger pains and end up binging on foods that aren't healthy for us. Plus, our muscles won't be repaired properly. This means that you could be sorer after a workout, and it will take significantly longer for your muscles to heal. It also means that it will take much longer to see the results of your hard work. Losing weight and making gains will be much more difficult.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to sleep. There are many ongoing debates about the exact amount of sleep required for optimum health. However, The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults. The amount of sleep needed will also change based on how you feel during the day. If you wake up feeling groggy, try going to bed earlier. If you wake up feeling refreshed, you might want to go to bed later.

Sleep Can Help You Succeed!

There is a lot of information out there, especially if you are looking for weight loss tips. You may find various content on the greatest foods for belly-fat loss or the best diets for muscle growth. However, if you are looking to remove those last few pounds of body fat that seem to cling to you for dear life, sleep may be the answer you are looking for. 

Undoubtedly, how you exercise and what you eat play a significant role in your overall success. But after that, it's crucial to pay attention to a few additional aspects that could affect the kind of development you make. One particular aspect that is frequently ignored is sleep. Since you are hardly conscious when you sleep, nobody ever considers sleep as a factor in success. How much damage might you actually cause to your advancement while you slept?

The short answer is that sleep quality determines how well you function and how quickly your body heals. 

  • Daytime cortisol levels are higher. 

An elevated daytime cortisol level is one of the first significant issues connected to sleep deprivation. Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted in the body that works to break down body tissues. Since the body is preparing for the fight-or-flight response mechanism during stressful situations, cortisol levels will be very high.

Dieting and rigorous workout routines put the body under stress. You are consuming fewer calories than your body prefers to have for proper function, which puts you at risk for muscle loss (which happens when high cortisol levels start destroying the body's structures).

Some research is finding that sleep-deprived people have greater cortisol levels in the afternoon and early evening than those who aren't.

  • Poor Glucose Control.

Have you ever noticed that you craved carbohydrates the day after a late night out or after a night of poor sleep? Chronic sleep deprivation alters our hormones and rate of metabolism, leading to increased hunger and appetite in particular.

When we are exhausted, our body senses this exhaustion and believes there we are short on energy, which causes internal impulses to eat to begin.

Sleep deprivation can lower glucose and insulin sensitivity, two of the most essential elements in developing or preventing diabetes and controlling how full you feel after eating. Even though you might not think staying up an extra hour to watch your favorite TV show is all that bad, the truth is that it could significantly raise your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes.

  • Increased Visceral Fat Levels

Visceral fat is the type of fat that puts your overall health at the greatest risk. While subcutaneous fat growth may be easier to notice (since this is the fat that is directly beneath the skin), a high level of fat around the organs is going to be much more harmful and may eventually be fatal.

Studies have shown that people who don't get an adequate amount of sleep regularly have higher visceral fat levels and are at greater risk for serious disease.

  • Decreased Performance at the Gym

Don't ignore the link between your workout performance and the amount of sleep you get. It can be challenging to smash out a session at the gym when you are sleep deprived. Many people will only put in half the usual effort, while others will skip the gym altogether. Since sleep is when the body recovers from activity, this is also when your injured muscle tissues will be rebuilt. You'll be less prepared for your next workout without this rest period.

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to prevent overtraining syndrome, which will quickly keep you from your workouts and stop future fat loss. If you don't ensure you get consistent rest, you could have to take time away from your program, which will slow you down and hinder your progress.

How To Get A Better Night's Sleep Every Night!

Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night will not only help you feel better, but it will help you look better as well. If you want to reap all of the benefits that good sleep can give, try out these helpful tips:

  • Establish a Bedtime Routine: Your body will start to get ready for sleep at the same time each night if you have a regular bedtime and evening routine. Melatonin levels will increase, your heart rate will slow, and you will be calmer and ready to shut down and relax. 

  • Avoid Unnatural Light:  TVs, cell phones, and bright interior lights all emit artificial light that may interfere with melatonin production. At least an hour before turning in for the night, stay away from these lights and gadgets.

  • Reduce Stress: Stress from our daily lives can leave our minds racing, causing us to toss and turn in bed. Yoga, meditation, and tai chi are exercises that can help us relax and fall asleep more quickly.

  • Control The Temperature In Your Bedroom: It is hard to fall asleep if you are too hot. Use fans or air conditioning to keep your bedroom slightly cooler than the rest of your house. This will promote a good night’s sleep. 

Nothing compares to tucking ourselves into bed at night, closing our eyes, and falling asleep. Unfortunately, sleep does not come naturally to many of us. More than 70 million people in North America alone experience some form of sleep disturbance. Any difficulty sleeping, whether it be difficulties falling asleep or trouble staying asleep, may be very dangerous to our health and wellness and can lead to issues that affect us throughout the rest of the day. Not only will we feel tired and run down, but we could also end up sabotaging our diets, gaining weight, and not seeing the gains that we have worked so hard to achieve. 

At Clean Eatz Kitchen, we know the importance of a good night's sleep. We also know how reducing your stress levels during the day can help you rest better at night. By helping you keep fresh and nutritious meals on hand, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time in the bedroom! If you are looking for an easy way to eat healthily, Clean Eatz Kitchen can help. View our meal plans here, and place your order today!

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