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The Importance of Sleep for Fitness

Amelia Johnson explains why it is important to prioritize sleep if you are going to achieve your fitness goals.

Some aspects of our lives take funny turns. Think of how much you dreaded going to bed as a child, and how much you would love to get even an extra hour of sleep as an adult. It is common for almost all, if not all, adults to feel like they do not get adequate sleep. With a busy daily routine, any other adult can relate to the feeling that there are not enough hours in a day to allow them to have enough sleep.

Whether you do go to school, or you have a full-time job, or you have a busy routine each day, then enough sleep is just a luxury to you. Some people have shown the ability to cope and function well with little or no sleep at all, yet others are immensely affected by the lack of enough sleep.

Should you lack adequate sleep and its effects stealthily appear during the day, you may benefit from such drinks as tea, coffee, or energy drinks to give you a physical and mental alertness boost. However, these alternatives become ineffective in the long term, especially if you have fitness goals to achieve. So, why is sleep so crucial for fitness?

The importance of sleep

It Discourages Overeating

Lack of enough sleep triggers the body to produce higher levels of the ghrelin hormone. This is the hormone responsible for the sending of the signal that you need to eat more.

Similarly, when you have inadequate rest, your body releases less of the leptin hormone. You need an increase in the production of this hormone if your brain is to receive the signal that you have had enough food.

Lack of adequate sleep results in the overproduction of the ghrelin hormone and underproduction of the leptin hormone (since you are tired) which in turn trigger overeating and subsequently encourage weight gain.

It Discourages Excessive Weight Gain

One of the disadvantages of inadequate sleep is the body's ineffective utility of insulin. Nothing disrupts your use of insulin more than insufficient sleep. Individuals with higher insulin resistance experience increased fat circulation in the bloodstream and increased insulin production.

The insulin produced in excess gets stored in the body in the form of fat. Getting quality sleep means that you help your body to regularize your insulin levels and discourage the formation of fat deposits in your body.

It Enhances Brain Focus

The brain fails to function normally when you lack quality sleep. I could compare sleep deprivation to being intoxicated with alcohol since inadequate sleep results in reduced mental clarity. This has the effect of experiencing difficulty in making informed complex decisions like determining what your diet should look like.

With inadequate and disturbed sleep, you will end up making poor dietary choices, and you might even settle for junk food that is counteractive to your fitness goals.

It Offers You Greater Workout Benefits

The reality here is that while it takes considerable effort to hit the gym, it even requires more effort to do so if you are exhausted. What could be worse than hitting the gym and being unable to complete even a single workout regime?

The Human Performance Resource Centre suggests that sleep is vital for physical performance and recovery. When you lack enough sleep, you are vulnerable to a medical complication, which may deter you from gaining from your workout sessions. Sleep also leads to demotivation for physical exercise.

It Improves the Recovery Process

There has been active research on overtraining and its effects and the required frequency of working out in the past few years. However, what has not received a lot of attention is the aspect of under-recovering. Could it be that you are just exercising in the right way but weighed down by under-recovering?

Poor sleep quality will only make it hard for you to recover from your workout regimes through reduced production of the growth hormone. This hormone is essential for fat burning and anti-ageing which are responsible for recovery. Thus, adopting effective sleep habits implies improved exercise recovery and fitness.

The Secret to Better Sleep

Drinking Fruit Infused Water

Research on the effects of water intake on physiological sensations and mood shows that drinking more water is beneficial to the quality of sleep. In contrast, a reduction in water intake has deleterious effects on mood, including reduced calmness which results in sleep disturbance.

Therefore, a fruit infuser water bottle will encourage you to drink even more water for better sleep and mood. Slice up some vegetables, fruits, or herbs, and put them in the bottle to infuse their nutrients and vitamins into your drinking water.

Consider infusing your drinking water with dark cherries which, in addition to their pleasant flavour, work well as a natural aid to sleep. You may add mint which not only improves your sleep quality but also soothes it. Drink infused water every time you go to bed.

Taking Raw Honey Before Bedtime

Royal Pharmaceutical Society's McInnes opines that raw honey eaten at bedtime enhances the quality of sleep without triggering weight gain. Basing his argument on the Society's past research, he concludes that honey is vital for improved restorative sleep.

Raw honey improves sleep by:

  • Keeping the liver full during sleep. When you eat raw honey before sleeping, you restock the glycogen levels in the liver. This ensures that your brain does not trigger a fuel crisis that prompts you to wake up.
  • Triggering the production of the sleep hormone. Honey raises your insulin levels considerably, which begins the production of tryptophan. In turn, tryptophan gets converted into serotonin which is further gets converted into melatonin which yields improved restorative sleep.

It is important to prioritize sleep if you are going to achieve your fitness goals as there is a strong link between fitness and sleep. Achieve your fitness goals by adhering to the above guide to quality sleep.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • JOHNSON, A. (2017) The Importance of Sleep for Fitness [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Amelia Johnson is a writer/editor with an endless passion for bringing a lot of useful and trustworthy information to the community. She founded, a blog dedicated to sharing quality articles related to health, nutrition, fitness, and beauty. As a typical introvert, Amelia is a perfectionist in work. At times of leisure, she reads, listens to music, chats with some close friends, and walks with her pet.