Get Better Sleep For a Better Workout

Everyone knows that exercise is the main component of maintaining fitness. But it’s actually during the post-exercise recovery phase between workouts that the body implements changes from the exercise. One of the best ways to recover from a hard workout, and get the best results, is to get optimal sleep.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived. This means that 1 in 3 people are not getting an adequate amount of sleep on a regular basis. While sleep is important for all aspects of life (i.e. functioning at work or school), getting better sleep can help you get better results from your workouts.


The better rested you are, the better your mind and body function — including when you work out. Getting enough sleep has been proven to keep people motivated to stick to their exercise plans the next day, according to research in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The more sleep time that these research participants got, the more likely they were to complete their exercise regimen. Adequate sleep not only gives your more drive and strength to maximize your workout, but also affects concentration, mood, and focus to make you more efficient and better prepared for your workout.

Muscle Recovery

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually build muscle while you are at the gym. You tear muscle fibers while you’re working out, and then you grow stronger muscles while you rest. Sleep allows time for muscles to repair themselves. Growth hormones are produced during stage 3 for non-rapid eye movement (NREM) or dreamless sleep. Since these hormones help repair the tissues that were damaged during exercise, the longer you sleep, the more time your muscle tissues have to regenerate and grow.

Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep can help you feel more energized, work out harder, and build muscle more quickly. When your muscles have adequate time to recover, you are more likely to come back stronger than before. Recovery time is crucial to your fitness journey, so it is important to develop a healthy sleep schedule.

Sleep Deprivation Makes Exercise Harder

You perform at your best capacity when you are well-rested. On the flip side, not getting enough sleep can actually make exercise feel more difficult. A study by the Sports Medicine journal found that while sleep deprivation doesn’t biomechanically lessen your physical capabilities (ie. doesn’t affect your cardiovascular or respiratory responses to exercise, your performance capability, or muscle strength), you will feel fatigue faster on less sleep, making it harder to exercise to your maximum capacity.

That’s not to say that extra sleep will make you faster or stronger. However, sleep loss has been connected to physiological responses that can inhibit your performance. The goal is to schedule exercise in your day to also fit in 7-8 hours of sleep, to balance the effects of both.

Find The Balance

Too much exercise and too little sleep could result in overtraining — which could keep you from reaching your goals, or lead to an injury that keeps you from exercising at all. Studies also show that poor sleep habits can negatively affect your motivation, immune system, impulse control, and weight gain. So if you find yourself struggling to reach your fitness goals and can’t seem to figure out why, try improving your sleep habits before giving your workouts another go.