There is one supplement out there that can give you tons of energy, make you more focused, improve your fat loss and muscle growth efforts, improve your hormonal profile, and regulate your appetite.
And do you know what?
That supplement is completely free.
And no, it’s not the latest fat-burner or mass-gainer. It’s sleep.
Yep, good ol’ sleep.
In this article, we’ll take a look at this invaluable supplement and how it affects our fitness. Let’s go.
Being able to build muscle mass is an integral part of fitness. Whether your goals are to build a bit of muscle and look athletic or step on a bodybuilding stage, having more muscle and less fat on your body will make you look and perform much better.
As far as sleep goes, not getting enough of it has been shown to impact our ability to build muscle directly:
• Lack of sleep reduces the circulating levels of two very important hormones: testosterone and IGF-1 (1, 2, 3).
• Sleep deprivation negatively impacts our performance, both cognitive and physical, as well as overall function and health (4).
IGF-1 and testosterone are both very important hormones for the growth of muscle mass and hindering them directly undermines your efforts in the gym.
Further, sleep deprivation has been linked to elevated levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) that further contributes to the inhibition of muscle growth (5). The researchers also suggest that inadequate sleep could very well be a contributing factor to chronic disease such as diabetes.
As an inhibitor of testosterone, sleep deprivation directly impacts the basal metabolic rate (BMR) for men (6). Meaning, the body burns fewer calories to maintain itself. Furthermore, research suggests that higher testosterone levels directly inhibit fat cell formation (7).
And research also suggests that higher levels of circulating testosterone make it easier for the body to metabolise fat tissue (8).
So far, so good. Sleep deprivation has a direct impact on dieting efforts, as well.
Research has been conducted to determine what the effects of sleep deprivation in regards to dieting for weight loss (9). Ten overweight subjects between the ages of 35 and 49 were recruited, and all of them were healthy.
One group slept for 7 hours and 25 minutes, on average where the other clocked in roughly 5 hours and 14 minutes of sleep.
Both groups had an identical calorie intake of roughly 1450/day in a reasonably aggressive caloric deficit of ~700 calories. Their protein intake was a bit low with only 18% of total calories coming from the macronutrient.
But, the results were interesting:
Both groups lost about 6.6 pounds of body weight. The group that slept for 7+ hours managed to lose fat and muscle tissue at roughly 50:50 ratio. But, the group that slept a bit over 5 hours lost as much as 80% muscle and 20% fat.
With everything else kept the same, sleep had such a profound effect on their dieting efforts.
The Bottom Line
Sleep is among the most important things we should get enough of if we want to stay healthy, perform well, stay energised, and maintain a good fitness level.
If you’re consistent with your workouts and you’re eating healthy, but your sleep is suffering, then it’s very important to make a change. Otherwise, you’ll never feel and look as good as you could be.
It all comes down to priority:
We often sacrifice sleep for other, seemingly more important things. But, the truth is, getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night is the best productivity hack and one of the most important aspects of good health.