How Sleep Can Help Your Gym Workout

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From de-stressing[1] to protecting against heart disease,[2] sleep has long been associated with physical and mental health.

But what if we told you that there was another benefit of getting those all-important 40 winks? Namely your fitness[3].

According to various research, getting enough sleep is crucial to making the most of your gym workout.

Tim Pinchin, sleep expert at premium mattress brand Octaspring[4], shared his expert knowledge on just how much sleep should be had to get the best out of exercise (not that we’re ever short of reasons to curl up in bed).

And for those who do struggle to nod off, he’s offered some fab tips to help you get those 40 winks.

How much sleep is needed in training?

Athletes in training need more sleep than they normally would, in the same way they need more calories when exercising. Youre burning more, so you need to replace more. Stress and exertion is being applied to the body and it is during sleep hours that the body recovers and repairs any damage that may have occurred, keeping the body in the fittest state it can possibly be.

Getting just an extra hours sleep a night when you are in training, can have a marked impact on performance. This can be obtained preferably by going to bed an hour earlier and can also be achieved by having an afternoon nap, if possible.

See Also: Too Hot To Sleep? Our Top Tips To Beat The Heat[5]

How does sleep deprivation affect your performance?

Reduced Energy Levels

If you are being very active during the day but arent getting enough sleep, you will find that youll suffer from reduced energy levels, and this will only continue to build up if you dont take time to allow your body to rest and recover.

This is because the bodys ability to store glycogen (glucose from food that is stored in animals to be converted to energy when need be) goes hand in hand with the amount of sleep being obtained. If you are not getting enough sleep, there will be too little glycogen stored within your body to be converted to energy when you need it most. The less energy you has, the less stamina and speed you’ll have too.

Sharpness of decision-making Sleep also serves as a key element in cognitive restoration, the process by which your brain recovers from mental fatigue.

The brain can only concentrate for a certain period of time without until it needs recharged, so this is essential because if you are not getting enough sleep, your split-second decisions will be less accurate, which can have a great impact on performance, especially in contact or coordination sports.

Repairing the body

Lastly, it is during sleep that levels of the important growth hormone, somatropin, are increased and it is this hormone that is responsible for repair. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, causes levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, to increase. Thus, when not getting enough sleep, the levels of the growth hormone in the body are lowered and the level of stress hormone is increased, meaning repair and healing will take that much longer and the risk of injuries will be greatly increased.

Nike Matanza, a professional triathlon coach, says: Quality sleep is one of the most important parts of our training. We train hard, we eat well and we need to recover as well. Bed is where recovery happens. Uncomfortable bed equals sleepless nights and achy body in the morning. Slow recovery or not sufficient recovery potentially means injuries, fatigue and burn out.

See Also: The Best And Worst Sleep Positions For Your Body[6]

What can be done to improve quality of sleep?

As important as it is to rack up the amount of hours of sleep, quality of sleep is of equal, if not greater, importance since slow-wave (deep, or REM) sleep is the most restorative type of sleep. This type of sleep is only reached through pure comfort, the right body temperature and a lack of distractions.

We always advise making sure the room is dark and cool when getting into bed and would advise against drinking caffeine after 5pm, even if you think you are unaffected by it.

We also advise reading or listening to mellow music in bed before going to sleep in order to take everyday worries off your mind, along with relieving the bladder so that there are no natural physical strains during your sleeping.

It is also worth investing in good quality bedding that respects the posture of your spine, lets your body breathe, keeps you at the right temperature, and is free from pressure points that may interrupt your sleep.

Also on HuffPost:

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  1. ^ de-stressing (www.huffingtonpost.co.uk)
  2. ^ heart disease, (www.huffingtonpost.co.uk)
  3. ^ fitness (www.huffingtonpost.co.uk)
  4. ^ Octaspring (www.octaspring.co.uk)
  5. ^ Too Hot To Sleep? Our Top Tips To Beat The Heat (www.huffingtonpost.co.uk)
  6. ^ The Best And Worst Sleep Positions For Your Body (www.huffingtonpost.co.uk)

Original Story Here


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Lunch Pails & Lipstick: Workout Tips

Remember this clean eating post from our real mom Jen Senecal? The response was amazing and we had many requests for workout tips. Jen put a list of tips together to keep all of us motivated while following our fitness … http://www.lunchpailsandlipstick.com/2013/06/workout-tips.html

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  1. Reply

    Is There An Online Site That Gives Free Workout Tips? I’m looking for a site that gives free workout tips and tips on getting abs. I don’t need a so-called “quick trick” that will supposedly get me a six-pack in 2 days. I just want tips on how to work out and what to eat to get in shape.

      • HealthNut
      • July 15, 2013

      If you want to stay in shape, you need to adopt healthy eating habits and make exercise a part of your daily life.

      How to start?

      Choose exercises you enjoy according to your fitness level. Aerobics exercises move the muscles fairly continuously and strengthen the heart and lungs. Examples of such activities are brisk walking, jogging, aerobic dancing, swimming, badminton, cycling and football.

      If you have not exercised for a long time or just started, start slowly and increase gradually over a period of 3 to 6 weeks.

      For those who are above 35 years old, overweight, or have medical problems, you need to check with a medical doctor before you embark on an exercise programme.

      Frequency or How often?

      Exercise for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week or more

      Intensity and duration?

      Do exercise until you perspire and breathe deeply without getting breathless. You should be able to talk or whistle while exercising.

      Do warm up and stretch for at least 5 minutes before exercise. Also not to forget to cool down and stretch after exercise.

    • XP
    • July 15, 2013

    Can I Have Some Good Workout Tips? Hey could I get some good workout tips. I’m medium built but i want to be lean and fit. I also want to tone and shape my legs a lot. Please tell me if you have any good tips!

      • HealthNut
      • July 15, 2013

      Yes,visit the following sites for fitness.You may not need a full-fledged diet right now, but you can still incorporate some slim-down strategies into your daily life.

      Eat breakfast. Studies show that eating breakfast is associated with keeping weight off once you’ve lost it.

      Fill up on low-cal foods. Start every meal with the items on your plate that are lowest in calories. By the time you get to the other foods, you won’t be so hungry, possibly decreasing your total intake.

      Begin with soup. Starting lunch or dinner with a broth-based, vegetable-filled soup will curb hunger so you’ll be less tempted to eat higher-calorie foods.

      Arrive fashionably late. Without as much time near the buffet table at parties, you’ll eat less.

      Divide your lunch. Afternoon snacker? Cut your lunch in half: have part at mealtime and the other half later in the afternoon.

      Swap mustard for mayo. A tablespoon of mayonnaise has 100 calories, compared with 10 calories for a tablespoon of yellow mustard.

      Duration of Exercise
      You may not be exercising long enough. The rule of thumb is cardio for 30 minutes, three times per week. If you really want to reach your goal, try five 45-minute cardio workouts per week. That sounds like a lot of exercise, but remember this is in order to meet your goal, not necessarily maintain it.

  2. Reply

    Can You Give Me Some Workout Tips On Buns? I have a big butt and I don’t know how to lose the waight. Can someone help me out? Can you name some workout tips that might work for me?

      • HealthNut
      • July 15, 2013

      Squats….work a treat, trust me!

  3. Reply

    Any Good Workout Tips For Men? I need workout tips that I can use at home and that works.

      • HealthNut
      • July 15, 2013

      Eat healthy. consume a little more protein (meat) than usual. Work out helps but working out is about your body fat percentage. Eating healthy is the main thing, then work out. Two strengths when combined, result in that figure your looking for. When you work out don’t do the same routine work out everyday. alternate between 3 days and do different things each of the three days. like Monday do crunches, Tuesday sit ups, Wednesday go for a run. then Thursday go back to crunches. You can do more than one thing a day certainly but don’t do the exact same workout everyday. Your body gets use to it. Mix things up. Eat a healthy breakfast. Eggs, bacon, milk, orange juice. that sort of thing. Just combine eating healthy with work out and you should see results in the first few days.

    • Ben
    • July 15, 2013

    How Can I Get A Good Source Of Carbohydrates And Proteins, Plus Workout Tips? I am wanting to start working out and getting healthy and gain lean muscle mass but i don’t really know what foods i should eat before and after a workout to get a good serving of protein and carbohydrates. so anyone who is maybe an athlete or just trying to get healthy too share some meal ideas? and maybe a few workout tips? thank you.

    By the way I’m a 19 year old male weighing in at about 164lbs and about 5’7″ if that helps
    Oh and i have access to workout equipment like dumbbells, that machine where you work out your legs by pushing weights with them, (don’t know what its called) treadmills, and those stationary bikes and an elliptical.

      • HealthNut
      • July 15, 2013

      I’ll give you a list of some common foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and take notes because it’s great for you to add them to your meal plan:

      Home-Made Pizza

      The above mentioned foods make your stomach full for a few hours. They make you have a slow digestion. So it’s good for those who want to slow down their metabolism. These foods are also beneficial for those who want to build muscle because they are great sources of energy for your body and muscles.

      Now I’m going to give you a list of foods high in protein that you should make sure you add to your meal plan. These foods are very important to build muscle mass.

      Here is the list:

      Sausages (healthy choices)
      Seafood (Fish, Calamari, Octopus, Salmon, etc.)
      Poultry (Chicken, Turkey, etc.)
      Peanut Butter
      Dairy Products
      Protein Shakes
      Protein Bars
      Liquid Protein

      As you can see there are many sources of proteins. So I recommend that you choose various, not just one.

      Doing combinations of these foods high in complex carbs and proteins will be the best way to create your meal plan.

      Three other foods you might want to add to your meal plan are:

      Ice creams

      These 3 are very good and delicious.

      Workout Tips:

      Get your form straight before you go heavy
      Progression is key – Add weight or reps when you can.
      Don’t get greedy – This is a long game. Adding too much too soon can leave you injured
      Eat. Adjust as needed.
      Focus. Gym time is work time. Socialization is fine, but spend time under the bar.
      Don’t buffet train – You don’t need to hit your biceps from 8 different angles, you need to get your primary lifts up.
      Get brutally strong – Your chest isn’t impressed with 15 pound flyes. Get your lifts up and good things will happen.
      Have fun – If you hate your time in the gym, you aren’t likely to make much progress.

  4. Reply

    Does Anyone Have Any Good “at Home” Workout Tips To Tone Stomach, Thighs And Butt? I’m not overweight or anything, I would just like to have a body that is more toned and healthy looking. I just need some workout tips that i can do at home in order to get rid of the fat; and tone my belly, thighs and ass. I DO NOT WANT ANYTHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH DIETING, JUST EXERCISE. Thank-you 🙂

      • HealthNut
      • July 15, 2013

      I know this sounds vague, but just use youtube. it’s awesome because you don’t have to buy an expensive dvd or anything and because you can specify exactly what you want to tone. You can search like “inner thigh workout” then choose from a bunch. Same with butt and stomach. There are some great variations. But, don’t expect perfect results from just working out. How you look is mainly due to your diet. Exercise just aids in that and tones you.

      Good luck

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