Sleeping & Workout

Monday, May 11, 2015
Sleeping & Workout

Dear Coach,


I’m in my late twenties and I work very long hours. The problem is that my heavy schedule is preventing me from sleeping enough, and I feel sluggish and tired most of the time. Making time for going to the gym, however, is on the top of my priority list. I generally feel fresh and energized after exercising and lifting weights. My question is:


Does my sleeping schedule have any bearing on the result of my workout?  


Any information you can offer would be great!



Edmond A.

Dear Edmond,


You may think you are doing everything by the book to gain muscle, but without proper sleep, your chances of achieving the desired results from your workout are very slim. Not even the best strength building program, super foods, or positive attitude can help you to meet your goal if you are not allowing your body to rest sufficiently. It is during the state of deep sleep that the growth hormone is produced, and without it, the potential for injury is increased.


Many exercisers underestimate or overlook the importance of sleep when they are going on a training program (weightlifting, aerobic classes, etc.). There is a dominant misconception among exercisers that building muscle occurs when pumping iron; this is not true. Your muscles develop after working out, and especially, during your deep sleeping hours. So the time you invest sweating and pumping those kilos up and down will all be wasted if you lack proper sleep. I am not talking about a couple hours of sleep here; this will not cut it. You need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep in order for your body to be recharged and to be able to build those desired muscles.


When you deprive your body of proper sleep, the hormones responsible for hunger increase; consequently, you end up eating more and adding on more fat. So basically, when you don’t sleep well, you are doing double the damage to your body: eating more (more fat and less burn) and building less muscle, if any. You should consider taking proper steps to ensure good sleep because sleeping experts are now linking many illnesses to the lack of good and deep sleep.


There are many factors and hormones that contribute to muscle growth, among which is testosterone. When you are deprived of good sleep, the production of cortisol is affected, which impairs the level of testosterone. You need to remember that growth hormone production is at its peak when you are sleeping. Also, lack of sleep increases the rate of anabolism and decreases the rate of catabolism, which work together to create metabolism.


Furthermore, one doesn’t need to be an expert on sleeping or fitness to figure out that when you have not slept well, you will be dragging yourself on the gym floor. This will not only hinder your performance and prevent you for doing your sets, repetitions, and loads as you desire, but it will increase your chances of injury because you’ll simply be unable to perform your training with control. Being ready for your training session includes having proper rest and adequate sleep; this should be a part of your training program.