Did you know that the right to take a nap at work is in the constitution in China? Indeed, article 43 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China states, “Working people in the People’s Republic of China have the right to rest.” China understood that resting is a staple to be efficient at work, but how about the gym rats that we are?
Why did I want to address this topic in the scope of fitness? Well, the fact is resting is the third fundamental pillar – with working out and dieting – when it comes to muscle recovery and building.
Let’s dig into those sleep disorders and see how it may affect our fitness goals.
What is a sleep disorder?
A sleep disorder is the fact of having trouble sleeping at night on a regular basis. While, you light-sleep or don’t sleep at all, you feel exhausted during the day. You have hard time to focus and a thin-skin type of temper. You end up nodding off while reading or hogging the remote at the beginning of the evening, or even at work in the second half of your shift.
Now, if it’s Saturday and you’d been animal-partying the night before it’s a no brainer you’ll get a hangover. We’re talking about regular tiredness here, something you feel 24/7 without going out at night to hang out and have fun.
So, if you’re not partying but you still feel dead-tired, what could the reasons and how could they affect your fitness goals?
Causes that may beget sleep disorders to a “healthy” fitness enthusiast?
1 – Workout out at night
Actually, the only fact of working out at night will help you sleep better. The problem is what you do around this evening workout. Before it, you may take a pre-workout containing nervous stimulant like caffeine, guarana or even taurine. So, if you’re highly sensitive to those active principles, you want to remove them from your pre-workout. Go for a free nervous stimulant pre.
2 – Irregular work shifts
In that case, sleep disorders occur because your biological clock and your bedtime or desynchronized. Indeed, some people have to switch between morning, afternoon and night shifts. The upset in terms of schedule prevents your brain to regulate its sleep-bound hormonal secretions which may cause light-sleepiness to insomnia. I know this is easier said than done, but if your organism can’t adapt to shift changes, to get your shape to the next level you’ll have to stick to a fix schedule, or at least avoid night shifts.
3 – Other factors
A lot of factors may cause sleep disorders like stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, sleep apnea (when you stop breathing a short period of time while sleeping. Yes, it’s life threatening…), restless legs syndrome (when you move your legs in bed to find a snuggly position) pineal gland dysfunction (responsible for the sleep-wake cycle), … here, it’s about a case by case issue. The best thing to do is to consult a sleep doctor. Yes you heard well, some doctors are specialized in helping you go to wonderland every night easier.
So, now that we have the potential causes that may lead to some trouble sleeping, let’s check out how those sleep disorders may affect our fitness.
The negative effects of sleep disorders on our bodies
Sleep disorders may affect your endocrine system
You not having enough sleep may have a lot of repercussions on your wellness and fitness at multiple levels. There are so many areas where a sleep disorder may have an impact on regarding your endocrine system that it’s necessary to have a brush up first. Here are the glands that play a role in the endocrine system.
Sleep deprivation may upset the endocrine system which may affect your fitness. Let’s see some examples.
At night, when there is less light, your brain triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. If you don’t sleep enough, you may be subject to an increase in melatonin release, notably during the day, what will get you groggy.
Sleep disorders may affect your immune system
Immune system While you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like cytokines. It uses these substances to combat foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Cytokines also help you sleep, giving your immune system more energy to defend your body against illness. Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its forces. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be able to fend off invaders, and it may also take you longer to recover from illness.
Sleep disorders may affect your nervous system
There’s a two-way connection between your nervous system and your muscles. When you want to lift, you give an order to your muscles via your nervous system. On the other side, when the weight is too heavy your nervous system send you a message to drop the set so you don’t get injured. Here’s out it works:
When you lack sleep, the nervous system slows down, and you take more time to recover. When it comes to lifting, the nervous signals diminish so fewer muscle fibers are stimulated which means you won’t be able to perform as well as you would if you had a good night’s sleep. Finally, the sensor signals lower which exposes you to more injuries, like muscle tears.
Sleep disorders may play a role on your weight. Indeed, sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in the night.
Lack of sleep impacts testosterone production. Indeed, you need at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep to refill your testosterone tank, which is about the time of your first REM episode. Sleep disorders like waking up throughout the night could affect hormone production. This interruption may also affect growth hormone production. These hormones help build muscle mass and repair cells and tissues.
Still think your 6 to 7 hour sleep is enough?
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to function well on six hours of sleep a night. This gene, however, is very rare, appearing in less than 3% of the population. For the other 97% of us, six hours doesn’t come close to cutting it.
In a nutshell every adult must have an average of 7-9 hours of sleep. Here’s a few pieces of advises to help you following that path.
Improve your bedtimes habits by sticking to a consistent sleep schedule. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine to prepare your mind and body for sleep. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool, avoid heavy meals and too many fluids late at night, take a warm bath, read a book, or listen to soothing music to relax, and turn off screens at least one hour before bedtime.
If you’re still having trouble getting to sleep, try focusing on your breathing, meditating, or practicing another relaxation technique.
Get rid of your stress. For instance, if you have worries, make a note and leave it for the next day when it will be easier to resolve.
Same on daytime by doing exercise regularly, limiting your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. In other words, buy yourself a healthy life, it’s priceless… 😉
Oh! And if you can allow yourself a nap during the day, below some innovative venues you might hit the sack in someday.
Here’s a $9000 nap pod at the university of Miami
You could sleep in this nap pod at a gym. Look at this one in UK
You could sleep in this 15 bucks per hour nap pod at an airport
Or maybe with other colleagues, each one in their bubble.
Why not at home
Or at the hotel
Or if you can go to a nap pod venue, maybe a nap pod can come at you
Bodybuilding and fitness are a threefold: workout, diet, sleep. So, as you want to workout and diet correctly, you want to sleep enough to get the fruit of your efforts. Indeed, it’s when resting and recovering that we regenerate and then build up muscles. So, do your 7 hour minimum amount of sleep. On these warm words, good night/nap. 😉