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Importance of Sleep in your Fitness Workout: The Phases of Sleep

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The importance of sleep in your fitness workout cannot be overstressed. Whether you are simply keeping fit or are an Olympic athlete, restful sleep is critical to your performance. In fact, the four major factors involved in fitness are nutrition, exercise and training “ and sleep!


Why is sleep so important? Can't people rest to recover between training exercises rather than go to sleep?


Sure they can, and near enough all do. However, why sleep? The answer to that is a simple one. During exercise, your muscle cells break down as does your nervous system. During restful sleep, these rebuild again so you are fit again for another day of work. You must sleep at the right time and FOR the right time!


Importance of Sleep: Four Phases of Sleep


To explain this, consider the various phases of sleep:


  • Phase 1: This when you are tired and just start to sleep. You are near to being awake but not quite. If you tend to read at night, maybe you nod off then awake with a jolt and continue reading. That is the near sleep stage. Had you not woken up you would have then gone into:
  • Phase 2: You have now started to sleep rather that just doze. You then enter:
  • Phase 3: A deeper form of sleep that begins to restore you mentally and physically.  Finally, you enter:
  • Phase 4: This is deep REM sleep where most of your dreaming takes place.  This takes place after about 90 minutes.
  • You then repeat this cycle though the night until you wake up.


Note:  If you tend to work at night, then the same phases occur when you are normally asleep.


It is during Phases 3 and 4 that your brain and muscles recover the rigors of the previous day.  Most of the growth hormone that aids your recovery is created when you sleep. This helps to grow your muscles, helps you lose fat and reduces your feelings of hunger. The less sleep you get, the greater the levels of the hormone that generate the need to eat more fuel  – or ˜hunger'.


Choosing a Mattress that Suits you is Critical


The importance of good-quality sleep to your fitness workout cannot be overemphasized. All professional athletes, sportsmen and sportswomen will tell you this.  Exercise as much as you wish, but if you need caffeine to keep you awake then you are not getting enough sleep “ or the right quality of sleep.


One way of helping you get the best quality of sleep possible is to purchase the most suitable mattress for your needs. A great pillow and a great mattress will give you the best chance of the high quality of sleep you need. Never ignore the importance of sleep in your fitness workout. Choosing a mattress that suits you is critical if you want your fitness workout to achieve what you want it to.  There are many options in the mattresses and beds, some people like adjustable beds to change the way they can position their body.


90-Minute Cycles of Sleep


These phases are believed to take place in 90 minute cycles, and it during Phases 1 & 2 that you are liable to waken up during the night if disturbed. It is well worthwhile for athletes, bodybuilders or those that simply work out to keep fit to make sure they have a mattress that helps them sleep.  Not just sleep, but to sleep throughout all the phases.


You must  allow your brain and your body to recover from the day's exercise.  If you don't, then you will feel a lack of energy and your body will give out earlier in your workout. You will not feel a desire to work so hard and you will increase your chance of injury.  Before you have gone through your regular workout schedule, you will be liable to stop though fatigue. All for a lack of proper sleep.


You can take energy boosters such as strong coffee or Red Bull as a quick fix for sleep-related fatigue, but these are no more than a quick fix to keep you awake and they don't address the main issue. That is a lack of tissue repair, muscle building and brain relaxation. You have to think of what sleep does for you, rather than try to keep your energy levels up artificially.


Importance of Sleep in your Fitness Workout


If you consume protein during the day, whether chicken or a protein drink, exercise ultimately causes that protein to be converted to muscle tissue. However, you don't see your muscles getting larger soon after you consume it.  Why? Because it takes time for your digestive system to break that protein down into carbohydrates and amino acids!


While you are in the later phases of your 90-minute sleep cycle,  your metabolism will use the amino acids from the protein you consumed to generate new muscle tissue and repair damaged muscles.  The more you exercise, the faster your blood flows and the faster protein is created from the amino acids and carbohydrates in your blood.


During the later phases of deep sleep, the growth hormone produced in that phase repairs damaged muscle tissue. New amino acids generate more proteins to aid this and create new muscle tissue.  This combination of damage repair and new muscle tissue builds your muscles and makes you stronger. It also makes you feel less tired. During this period your brain also repairs itself from the previous day's work.