Fitness, Fitness, Lifestyle

How to sleep yourself fit

“Not having enough sleep can make us have poorer reaction times and make poorer decisions. It decreases our learning abilities ‘cause we’re not concentrating as much and could be more likely to have an injury.”

If you think “you snooze you lose”, it’s time to wake up to the benefits of getting some solid zzz’s for both your health and fitness. Aquanation and Aquahub gym instructor, Steph Bollaart explains why.

Snooze for them gains

Start hitting the hay early friends because as Bollaart explains, bed is a bestie to building muscle.

“Sleep is important because when we’re asleep our body goes through a natural healing process. This is needed to repair the microtears in your muscles after a workout, when the muscles are repaired this helps with muscle growth,” advises Bollaart.

Bed and brain power

Sure, exercise increases your endorphins, but if you really want good vibes, the gym instructor reckons getting to bed is your best bet.

“While our body goes through the repair process during sleep our brain sorts out all the things that have happened throughout the day and creates new neural pathways,” says Bollaart.

And yes, exercise increases your endorphins, but if you really want good vibes get a good sleep.

“Sleep impacts your mood so if you’re not getting enough sleep you’re going to be tired, lethargic and less motivated,” advises the gym instructor.

You’re probably not going to be jumping out of bed to hit the gym when you’re feeling zonked, and if you do manage to make it, you’re at risk of injury.

According to Bollaart, “not having enough sleep can make us have poorer reaction times and make poorer decisions. It decreases our learning abilities ‘cause we’re not concentrating as much and could be more likely to have an injury.”

Sleep for success

To keep your health goals on track, Bollaart is adamant sleep is super important.

“Having lack of sleep can affect our diet because it alters our appetite regulating hormones and that can lead to you feel more hungry.”

If you think being hangry isn’t that big a deal, Bollaart advises it’s pretty vital for keeping your head in the game.

“When we’re feeling hungry we tend to make poorer food choices and are more likely to grab something that’s more accessible,” says the gym instructor.

If you’re fresh as a daisy, she suggests you’re more likely to grab a healthy meal that you can cook up yourself, which will have a more positive impact on your health and fitness goals.

Snoozing has a big impact on other health factors too. 

“If we don’t have enough sleep, it can decrease our insulin sensitivity, a hormone that’s in our body that helps with sugar regulation. Over time, if you’ve got decreased insulin sensitivity, it can lead to type two diabetes,” warns Bollaart.

Should you sleep in a little and train later in the day to meet your goals?

According to the gym instructor, there’s no real difference on your fitness whether you train in the morning or evening - it’s all about how much sleep you get.

“As long as you’re getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, you’ll allow yourself to function at your best during the day.”

Bollaart says although she prefers a harder workout first thing and lighter exercise such as yoga later in the day, “Everyone has a different circadian rhythm and different sleep schedules, so depending on what your sleep schedule is, that will determine what exercise schedule will work best for you.”

 Steph Bollaart is a trainer at Aquanation and Aquahub gym.