Nearly everyone has a different stance on the age old topic of sleep. Some people think you need to sleep half the day to properly function and others prefer to believe you can survive with a quick power nap. With so much information on hand, what can you believe? As someone looking to get fit, or gain muscle, or even just jog more often, this is a question that needs to be answered!
The first step in finding the solution is to know why sleep is important to the human body. Not only does it give you an energy boost to get through the day, or an exercise, but it also provides healing. When your brain slips into the REM mode of sleep, your body actually begins mending itself from the daily wear. If you’re working out and breaking down muscles, you need sleep to rebuild them stronger than they were before. Without it, your muscles could only maintain their current state, not regenerate.
And do you know what that means? You would be very very sore for much longer than necessary. Broken down muscles can be painful and that’s the burn you feel when you weight lift. Imagine that feeling right after a strenuous session at the gym and picture feeling like that days after the workout. Sleep stops this from becoming a reality.
So how much sleep do you exactly need in order to achieve the healing you need? Generally, the brain reaches the REM state an hour and a half into sleep. So you need at least this long. Now, your body is in a unique state where it’s working through functions different from when you’re awake. If you wake up too early, it could throw you off a bit and make the start of your day rough. You’ll feel drowsy and foggy.
To combat this effect, you should try and sleep for eight hours every night. This is the mark where the body begins to switch back over to waking functions and finishes healing. Anything longer than eight hours is generally unnecessary unless you’re sick or seriously injured, but it won’t have many negative side effects.
You may feel eight hours is a lot. We understand there are a hundred things on your to do list and you’d rather get some sleep and then get back to the daily grind. But if you don’t get the sleep you need, you won’t get the workout results you want because you’ll be tired, aching, and lacking energy. So don’t skimp where it matters!
One last note: every body is different. And that’s not a grammar error. Each person’s body has a different metabolism, heart rate, and any number of other functions that work at different efficiency levels. And they all react differently to sleep. What works for one person may not work for another. So try different amounts of sleep out for week long periods to find what works best for you.
If you enjoyed our article, share it with your friends and gym partners on Twitter, Facebook, and your other social networks. And if you have any experience trying out different sleep routines, comment below to tell us how your experiment went and how much sleep you found best.