muscle recovery

How To Boost Your Muscle Recovery While You Sleep

Photo by: Andisheh-Unsplash

Get Your Sweat On & Maximize Muscle Recovery While You Sleep

Have you ever thought to yourself, when is my muscle recovery actually happening? At what time in the day after working out does this badass biological process take place? If you are wondering how your killer workouts can impact your nightly slumber then this article is for you!

Firstly, you definitely don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that working out is beneficial to your health. Exercise offers an endless list of benefits, some are instant and other benefits will happen gradually. What is truly amazing about getting your heart rate up is that it provides physical benefits and mental benefits.

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Physical Benefits of Exercise

Let’s start with why exercise benefits your physical health. Incorporating a combination of both weight training and cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise will help improve your optimal health.

As we age, our muscle mass decreases- this occurs inevitably. In order to keep our skeletal system functioning, we must recognize the importance of maintaining or gaining our muscle mass. How can we hold on to our muscles and how do we build?

We need to lift.

This will allow you to remain strong as you age which is vital for mobilization.

In contrast, staying active by walking, running, swimming, or by any means of aerobic activity, will strengthen your cardiovascular system and stamina.

Think about this…

Your heart is a muscle. It is separate from skeletal muscle. If we forget to strengthen that specific muscle, our cardiopulmonary system could suffer in the long term.

You want to be able to walk up a few flights of stairs without feeling like you can’t breathe!

To summarize, adding both cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise and resistance training into your routine, will be your best bet in doing your part to keep your health a priority!

How Exercise Can Help Your Mood

In like manner, exercise also offers many mental health benefits. One amazing benefit of exercise is that it can instantly alter your mood. Exercise can calm you down and quickly reduce your stress by releasing some pretty astonishing “feel good” hormones!

A recent meta-analysis in the journal Anxiety-Depression found that people with anxiety disorders who reported high-level physical activity were better protected against developing anxiety symptoms than those who reported low physical activity (source).  This study basically indicated that the more exercise a person did, the better the outcome of treating anxiety!

-Health Harvard

Not only is exercise FREE (and who doesn’t love free stuff?), it can help boost your muscle recovery, your mood and help your mental health. It’s obviously a win all around!

Check out how to use Exercise to Naturally Reduce Stress here.

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What Actually Happens When You Sleep?

Getting a good night’s sleep is beneficial to your body in so many ways.  Sleep is classified in mainly two categories:

  • NREM sleep
  • REM sleep

NREM sleep includes 4 stages and is known to be a more restorative portion of sleep.

In REM sleep the body is essentially paralyzed. Your body’s main goal in this sleep stage is to allow your cognitive system to work itself out. While in REM sleep it does this by processing the thoughts from earlier in the day.

This is also when you dream the most. Dreams allow neural networks to eliminate stressful thoughts and invaluable communications that circulate through your mind.

Exercise and sleep really go hand and hand. There is a notable relationship between sleep and muscle recovery. There is scientific evidence to back up the claim that

Biological speaking your body actually makes both these healthy habits easier for you. When you exercise your body releases hormones that actually give you energy.

On the other hand,  once those are released, your body knows that more restorative sleep (NREM sleep) is needed to heal and repair muscle tissue.

Therefore, when you do put your head on the pillow, your brain will automatically help you enter a more restorative sleep stage and for a longer period of time.

Studies analyzing sleep and exercise have determined that there is a correlation between exercise and increased time in NREM, which we said was the more restorative sleep. Studies have also shown that exercise definitely changes body composition and cardiovascular fitness levels. Meta-analyses indicate that chronic exercise yields more stable and persistent improvements in sleep.  (source) 

-Frontiers Academic Journals

As this particular research shows, consistently working out will ultimately improve your sleep. This backs up the long-standing medical hypothesis that states the harder your workout, the more restorative sleep you will have.

Moreover, when you sleep this is where your muscle recovery will mainly happen as the body works to repair, strengthen and grow your muscles.

To read more about how Sleep can also help reduce Anxiety click here!

Don’t Skip Your Workouts and Make Sleep A Priority

The best thing you can do to ensure both exercise and sleep are scheduled into your day is to allow time for both. Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes is an extremely doable task and does not take up a lot of your day.

In addition to creating space in your day to get a sweat session in, getting adequate sleep is vital to boost your muscle recovery.

One way to make sleep a priority is to go to bed earlier. Make sure you give yourself a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

Studies have shown how these can both have a cyclic effect on each other. In other words, exercising more can cause your body to crave more sleep. The more sleep you get the better you can perform in the gym. As you can see, sleep and exercise are closely related.

Sleep is needed to expend the energy required to exercise. As mentioned above, exercise can equate to a night of better quality sleep. Although we may not know what causes what, we can determine that both are vital to maintaining a healthy body and mind- now and in the future.

The Takeaway

Now we have learned how exercise impacts our sleep and exactly how important sleep is to boost muscle recovery. If muscle growth is your goal give your body the tools it needs to excel at your workouts. Make sleep a priority!

Leave a comment below and tell us how exercise and sleep impact your life.


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