A primer on sleep, exercise and recovery

by Kim – Wednesday, 27. November 2019

Sleep is your foundation for a better and healthier recovery. If you’re looking for progress in your exercises then take your sleep seriously! I know it has been said too often, but it’s true that eight hours of sleep makes a difference. There are no such excuses like being too busy or too hurried. Make sleep a priority just like your exercise or diet plan.

But first, let’s take a step back and take a look at the reasons why sleep is so important for a good recovery after an intense workout.

Heavy and intense workouts require a ton of muscle recruitment and stresses your central nervous system, specifically your sympathetic nervous system (primary process is to stimulate the body’s fight-flight-or-freeze response). You need as much sleep as possible for a proper recovery after such workouts. No one’s shocked about this, but a lot of people are ignoring the fact that sleep is really very important! It’s the time when your body goes into repair mode, your muscles rebuild, your hormones balance and your central nervous system reaches equilibrium. It takes sleep to build your body back up more powerful than before. It needs time to heal the micro-trauma done to the muscle cells. Another important fact is that you need to know your personal fitness level to avoid over-stressing your body with too intense exercises or too heavy weights.

Have you ever had some straight-up disturbing nightmares? These night terrors are an indication that your last super intense exercise was too much for your body. If you’re not getting a good night sleep, you’re going to wake up after REM (REM stands for rapid eye movement and it’s a lighter stage of sleep). Waking up after REM leads to high levels of melotonin, meaning you will continue to feel groggy and tired. Longer sleep cycles allow you to develop a more enjoyable dreaming experience and improve recall.

If you want to read more about the different interpretations of the most common dreams, I would highly recommend this article: https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/common-dream-meanings/

Is there anything better than falling into bed after a hard, intense workout and sleeping until the alarm rings eight hours later? Is there anything better than waking up more relaxed and ready for a new day? I’ll let you answer this question for yourself, but just remember that sleep is an incredibly simple way to keep improving and get stronger from your workouts.

Sleep, recover, exercise and repeat