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We all know that sleep is good for us. We’ve all had that feeling when everything works in slow motion just because we haven’t had enough sleep for few days.
Our brain is very dependent on sleep. For many years, scientists have been wondering why sleep is necessary, and why it is essential for us to function. During the day our brains work hard, sending a lot of impulses through the nervous system and between our synapses. These impulses are essential even for basic activities like walking and breathing.
This means that on a standard day, our brain is doing an incredible amount of work, which generates waste products. Scientists have recently discovered that during the night, our brains flushes out the waste build-up from the day and “cleanses” itself. So inadequate sleep clogs up our brain and slows the impulses between neurons, in turn making us a little slower overall.
But can sleep also have more impact on our bodies and our training? The answer is a resounding yes.
1. Sleep can affect your diet
Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that people who get adequate rest experience less hunger, and their weight-loss is more likely to come from fat. Those who sleep less tend to have a bigger appetite and feel less satisfied with meals. So sleeping for at least 7 hours a night is essential if you’re trying to lose weight.
2. Tiredness can increase your cravings
Eating well is essential for your training efforts to pay off. But healthy eating can often be jeopardised by our food cravings, we all have them. The occasional piece of cake is not going to ruin months of workouts, but regular food cravings can.
How to avoid them? A good night sleep might again be the answer. Hunger is controlled by hormones called leptin and ghrelin.
Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells and it helps us feel more full. Whereas more ghrelin increases feelings of hunger. A study shows that less than 6 hours of sleep can trigger your brain to release more ghrelin and make you crave more food.
3. Sleep can also affect your training
Research conducted in Brazil has linked sleep to the rate of protein synthesis, which is very important in the process of muscle gain. Inadequate sleep is said to slow the rate of protein synthesis which is linked to loss of muscle mass. This can not only make your results slower but can have a significant impact on your recovery from soft-tissue injuries.
Lack of sleep can also reduce the production of growth hormone. This hormone is most actively produced during the deeper stages of sleep.
You get less deep sleep if you keep waking up, or your sleep gets cut short. A poor night of sleep can slow the healing of any sports injuries that you might have, which can mess with your workout plan.
Sleep is essential if you are looking to lose weight and gain muscle. In fact, you are far more likely to gain weight if you sleep poorly, despite exercise and a good diet.
So maybe next time you have a late night in the office, it might be worth getting some extra rest instead of dragging yourself through an extensive workout.