As research suggests, getting at least seven hours of quality sleep every night comes with a long list of benefits. Quality sleep helps to process and store your memories and thoughts. Additionally, it balances your emotions by regulating hormones and chemical processes in your body. Sleep also improves your skin health, hair, weight control, and mental stability. But what many people don’t realize is that sleep can also improve your lean muscle mass and is considered by experts to be the most essential part of your training program.
During your workout, the burn that’s felt is your muscle tissue breaking down. As you sleep, your energy consumption is lowered in order for your body to begin the process of repairing damaged muscle tissue and joints. Your body will go through multiple cycles of sleep known as REM and non-REM. It is during the non-REM phase, while you are in deep sleep, that your blood pressure drops and your brain is resting. Due to the lack of activity, there is more blood supply available which can deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscle tissues which facilitate healing and growth.
Since non-REM sleep accounts for about 40% of your sleep during multiple cycles at night, it is important for you to get a full night’s rest to achieve full muscle recovery and improve your lean muscle mass.
Keeps You Lean
Staying lean isn’t just about eating healthy. We know that quality sleep results in hormone regulation and contributes to weight loss. However, if you are sleep deprived, your body produces higher levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone because it notifies the brain that there is something wrong in your body. As additional cortisol is produced, your body feels as if it is starving, resulting in additional fat being stored to counter starvation.
Similarly, sleep deprivation produces catabolic hormones which break down muscles and instead of using up those additional fat stores around your belly, the breakdown occurs in your muscle’s protein.
Improved Brain Function
Some of the symptoms for sleep deprivation include brain fog, lack of motivation, mood swings, and memory lapses. However, if you sleep seven or more hours each night, your brain is able to process memory, thought, and emotions. This improves your ability to think, focus, and stay motivated throughout the day.
As you sleep, the REM stage helps to improve your creativity by improving your learning capacity and memory formation. But, research has shown that by losing non-REM sleep your memory function can also drop by as much as 40%. So, it is important that your mind utilizes both sleep cycles to fully organize your thoughts. Or, essentially process what should be retained for use and what can be stored away or forgotten. This improved brain function is not only important to maintain a good memory, but it is also essential for promoting creativity, focus, and motivation. Additionally, it will drive you to achieve higher production and stay on target while working out.
Sleep is one of the best ways to ensure that your work at the gym is really paying off for you. Quality sleep helps to grow lean muscle through recovery, manage hormones that breakdown fats, and improve your ability to focus which provides motivation to hit the gym.
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