How Working out Can Give You a Better Night’s SleepHeather Neal
Guys. I’m tired. Like really, really tired. It’s been one of those weeks. Well, a couple of those weeks if I’m being honest. The toddler was sick and slipped back into his old poor sleeping habits. He was up in the middle of the night, not going to bed easily, and up before the sun is even thinking about rising. It’s not as bad as it was in the early days, but I’m still surprised about what an impact it has left on me. Then I realized the other big change in the few weeks he’s been under the weather: I’ve been skipping the gym.
I remember this phenomenon from the newborn days. I finally told myself I couldn’t skimp on exercise anymore just because I was tired, and much to my surprise, I started feeling more rested.
Turns out a poll from the National Sleep Foundation confirmed that exercisers report a better night’s sleep on days they workout. Another plus? Sleeping can help your workouts too, by helping you recover faster and better.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, during the deepest stages of sleep, blood flow to the muscles increases and your body is able to rebuild and repair tissues. Growth hormone, which is important for muscle building, is also released during this phase of sleep. WebMD says going to bed an hour earlier or taking an afternoon nap can improve performance whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a weekend warrior. David Geier, M.D., director of sports medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, puts the idea in terms many of us can relate to, saying, “Just as athletes need more calories than most people when they’re in training, they need more sleep, too.”
It’s something to remember on those days you’re dragging and just can’t get going. Not only will a workout pep you up, it might help you get a better night’s sleep, too.