You May Be Sabotaging Your Recovery (Part 3 of 3)
Lack of Sleep
Ah, sleep. We all know how much we need it, mostly because when we don’t get enough, the world takes on a different, more negative hue. Lights seem brighter and sounds more vivid, and not in a good way. Perpetual fogginess clouds our thoughts, slurs our words, and prevents us from focusing on anything but the coffee pot timer. Did you know that sleep deprivation also hampers our athletic performance?
That bad sleep makes us slower, weaker, and less coordinated? That sleep deprivation reduces the effectiveness of our workouts, and sometimes even reverses their beneficial effects? That it can hamper our ability to build lean mass? Sleep loss doesn’t always impair performance, but it does impair recovery from exercise.
Lack of sleep impairs exercise recovery primarily through two routes: by increasing cortisol, reducing testosterone production, and lowering muscle protein synthesis; and by disrupting slow wave sleep, the constructive stage of slumber where growth hormone secretion peaks, tissues heal and muscles rebuild.
That’s probably why sleep deprivation has been linked to muscular atrophy and increased urinary excretion of nitrogen, and why the kind of cortisol excess caused by sleep deprivation reduces muscle strength.
We have asked how much sleep do get each night as our question of the day at our gym and people that answered with the amount we should be getting were given a look or some kind of remark to make them feel bad for taking care of themselves. Prioritize sleep!
You know this person, maybe you are this person: the weekend warrior. Every other weekend or so, he gets amped up and goes on a big bike ride, does a 10k, swims a few thousand meters, attempts to deadlift twice his body weight, tries to climb the local mountain, or performs some other impressive feat of human endurance/strength/pain tolerance that he hasn’t done for months.
He feels great doing it and feels incredibly accomplished, but by the time Monday rolls around he’s wrecked with crippling DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) that prevents him from performing simple physical tasks like shoe-lacing and back-scratching, let alone going to the gym for an actual followup workout. Since he can’t work out – or even lift his arms over his head – it’ll be another couple weeks until he exercises again. By then, any progress he made has already disappeared. He’s back at square one.
We have said it many times, workout for tomorrow, the future, and your longetivity. You aren't going to accomplish your fitness goals in one workout, it is about a series of consistent workouts over time that get the job done. Through in proper recovery and you are setting yourself up for success.