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Why Exercise & Sleep Help Your Body Recover

Why Exercise & Sleep Help Your Body Recover

Why Exercise & Sleep Help Your Body Recover

Why Exercise & Sleep Help Your Body Recover

Why Exercise & Sleep Help Your Body Recover

Workout To Wind Down: Why Exercise & Sleep Boost Recovery

Movement and rest—two aspects of life that may seem like polar opposites. But when it comes to our health and wellbeing, they could not be more reliant on one another.  

Both sleep and exercise produce important hormones, chemicals, and neurotransmitters that govern everything from mood to digestion, to the pace at which we age. 

You can be the most athletic person in the world, but without proper sleep, your ability to perform will become stunted and short-lived. Conversely, even those with highly consistent sleeping patterns will find themselves lacking in energy without regular exercise. 

So, what makes these two elements of general health rely on each other so heavily, and why are they so important for a happy, fulfilling, and balanced life? Let’s find out. 

The Link Between Exercise And Good Sleep 

There has been extensive research on the relationship between sleep and exercise over the years. Some studies have found that regular exercise can alleviate sleep-related issues, such as insomnia, while better sleep can help to improve physical performance. 

Based on numerous studies and research over the years, science has concluded that sleep and exercise have what is described as a “bidirectional relationship”. 

A bidirectional relationship describes a perpetual give-take relationship. One that relies on the transmission of energy or information between two forces for the sake of continued motion. They both have different roles to play, and the success of each one depends on the success of the other. Conversely, the inadequacy of one leads to the inadequacy of the other. 

In other words, a more rigorous and consistent exercise routine can lead to better sleeping habits, and a healthy sleep routine can lead to more effective exercise. At the same time, lack of physical activity can lead to poor sleep, and poor sleep can lead to decreased physical performance. 

The Benefits Of Sleep And Exercise 

Whether we like it or not, a balance of these two things is essential for leading a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life, from both a mental and physical perspective.

Regular exercise, for example, is responsible for setting several healthy physical and mental processes in motion. Some of them include: 

  • Healthy blood circulation – while exercising, the heart rate increases, regulating blood circulation and strengthening the heart.
  • Muscular growth – intensive exercise gives way to hypertrophy, the stretching and tearing of muscles in preparation for growth.
  • Release of hormones and chemicals – “happiness” hormones like serotonin, oxycontin and dopamine get released during exercise, as does the natural hormonal painkiller norepinephrine.
  • Stress management – as happiness-boosting chemicals are released, and the body sweats out toxins, stress levels decrease and become easier to manage.
  • Mood stabilisation – another positive side effect of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. 

In addition to all of these things, exercise also primes the body for sleep. By releasing pent-up energy and working the muscles for growth, the body becomes naturally exhausted and ready to transition into a deep, restorative night of rest. 

Sleep, while a very different physical experience to exercise, promotes a similar set of health benefits. Some of them include: 

  • Stress management – lack of sleep can make people irritable and anxious, leading to higher stress levels. Good, consistent sleep alleviates stress. 
  • Improve energy levels – when you experience a night of deep rest, you are more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and energised.
  • Maximises physical performance – numerous studies on the topic show that good, consistent sleep enhances athletic performance and facilitates better muscle recovery.
  • Release of hormones and chemicals – while you sleep, your body releases melatonin (the sleep hormone), HGH (Human Growth Hormone), and serotonin. All are important for a balanced mental and physical state.
  • Mood stabilisation – good sleep has been known to help fight depression, anxiety, and certain circumstantial mood disorders. 

When sleep and exercise work together as a team, managing these areas of general health becomes a much smoother and more cohesive process. A mutual relationship is key. 

Exercise pushes your body to new limits, gaining strength, and improving your sense of balance, mobility, and the ability to heal after injury. Studies suggest that the average adult needs 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, or 75 minutes per week of intensive physical activity. 

Sleep soothes and restores the body after exercise, replenishing energy levels and ensuring your body and mind are fit for more movement and more expansion the next day. 

The average adult requires 7 or more hours of sleep per night to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. As you age, your sleep patterns change too, so you need to ensure that you always give your body what it needs. 

Too much sleep without exercise can cause lethargy and restlessness, while too much exercise without sleep can lead to exhaustion and illness. In order to lead a functional, well-adjusted, and sustainable life, both sufficient rest and physical activity are necessary. 

When you sleep well, you can train harder and perform even better athletically. When you exercise regularly, your body will naturally ‌experience deeper, more consistent and restorative rest.  

Movement And Rest For Recovery 

Sleep is extremely important for physical recovery. Whether it is recovery from illness, injury, or exercise, sleep plays an essential role in helping the body regain strength and energy. 

This is why when people have undergone surgery, been sick, or suffered any kind of physical trauma, they are typically instructed to rest. People who are ‌physically active also need more rest than those who aren’t, because they are expending more energy than the average person. 

Lack of sleep while participating in intensive regular exercise can cause slower muscle recovery, increased production of cortisol (the stress hormone), and even changes in mood. 

Generally speaking, people who exercise regularly report better quality sleep, and people who sleep well report better physical performance. From both a scientific and practical perspective, the connection between sleep, exercise, and recovery is abundantly clear. 

Life’s All About Balance

There you have it. Sleep and exercise play critical roles in the health and well-being of everyone. From mental health to physical health to recovery from illness, both of these natural bodily functions are essential for living a happy, fulfilling, and well-rounded life. 

By Lara Garcia

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