Have you ever had issues with sleeping? It’s happened to me more times than I care to share. Whether it’s a change of environment, travel, or stress, lack of sleep can be a huge pain in the you know what. But how does sleep affect your workout? Should you work out when you are sleep deprived? Today I’ll share with you some research on this topic and let you be the judge if you should work out when you didn’t sleep well.
How Your Sleep Patterns Can Affect You When Working Out
While commitment to exercise is a great thing to have as a trait, you want to make sure you keep your eyes on the prize, which is your long term success at working out. Your health should always be your first priority, and there are some times when less is more. Some people just power through being sick or sleep deprived and they hit the gym with all cylinders running, but is that a good, or bad idea?
When you want to reach peak performance, there is something called balance. Having balance in life is a great thing, and in the terms of working out, the balance between working out, and rest, must sync perfectly or you put your body at a great risk.
Reasons Why Working Out on Little or No Sleep is a Bad Idea
#1: Your Workout Will Suffer
Studies, like the one published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, have shown the vast differences in reaction times when operating machinery or performing mundane tasks like driving a car. Also, your cognitive function will suffer at the same time. It becomes harder to make quick decisions when you have an impaired memory, and additionally, your sensitivity to pain will go up due to the sleeplessness. Your workouts will often feel like they are more difficult even when you aren’t performing at your best levels.
In short, if you are paying for classes like boot camps on a per session basis, like I do, save them for days when you are all revved up, rested, and ready to give your all. Don’t waste your time and money on a session where you won’t maximize performance.
#2: Your Put Your Body at Risk of Injury
When you are sleep-deprived, you put your body at serious risk of injury. Your reaction time will be slower, and as noted above, your thinking moves slower, putting you at risk of operating in prime form. Imagine going for that last rep and wiping out? The possibilities of what could happen, are endless.
#3: It Will Hurt Your Immune System
A little less sleep can lead to a lot more problems when it comes to the human body. One night of bad sleeping can lead to increased cortisol levels, which puts a serious cramp on your ability to fight off any infection going around. When you add in the addition of throwing weights around or moving your body with stuff like HIIT workouts, you really put yourself at risk of getting sick. Think of all the people touching the weights in the gym, or even something as trivial as the water fountain or locker room. Do you really want to risk it?
#4: The Effects Compound
Multiple days of sleeping poorly will add up to a more cumulative exhausted state. Your best bet is to wait until you are fully rested before getting back after it and into the workout regimen. Don’t risk injury or illness because you “feel bad for missing a workout or three.”
#5: Tissue Repair is Affected
Tissue repair and growth is affected when you cortisol levels are high. Do you want to put a further stress on your system by working out, or let things repair themselves, take a day off, and get back after it all healthy? I think the answer is an easy one.
Why is Sleep So Important?
When you sleep less than seven hours per night you could put yourself at risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even hypertension (high blood pressure.) You could also gain weight and live a shorter lifespan. We all tend to build testosterone naturally when we sleep, so losing out on sleep is NOT a good idea.
In addition, your mood will be impacted. Mine definitely is! We all feel a bit groggy, testy, and short-fused when we don’t sleep optimally.
Conclusion and My Advice
I’ve always been one to look for excuses not to work out. Usually, my mind takes over and I power through whatever work out I had planned. However, as I’ve got older (read – wiser) I’ve realized I need to listen to my body. Yes, it feels bad investing in supplements like TestoFuel and taking a day or more off, but, it is what it is. It’s better than not taking care of your body with proper supplementation and taking time off. When I sleep terribly, I give myself a day off from the gym because the con’s outweigh the pro’s when it comes to getting a good workout in.