Sleep Deprivation is Killing Your Muscle Gains
Life is busy. We need to have a social life outside of work, lifting, and eating right... But there's just not enough time in the day.
Running off of five hours a sleep per night may work for you, but what is it doing to your gains?
Sleep deprivation stops your brain cells from communicating properly and distorting how people see the world around them according to some new studies. This new research shows how our brain turns itself off to rest even while you're awake. This is why driving tired is very dangerous.
What exactly is sleep deprivation?
We all go through stages of our lives where we need to give up a night of sleep to finish a paper, finish cleaning the house, or you got called in for a second shift. If we keep riding the "no sleep" train, serious problems can occur.
Sleep deprivation by definition means "the condition of not having enough sleep."
Starving your body of sleep is robbing neurons the ability to function properly. We have cognitive lapses in how we perceive and react to our environment. Restricting yourself to getting less than 8 hours of sleep per day can put a hurt on recovering from working out, you lose power output, and you risk injury.
Sleep deprivation has been tied to the heightened risk of depression, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke.
11 Signs That You Are Sleep Deprived
There are a few signs that signal you are sleep deprived. While encountering these symptoms by themselves, you may chalk it up to an "off day." Take note and see how many of these signs you notice, and be honest with yourself about your sleep schedule.
#1 - Always Hungry
Running low on sleep increases ghrelin, the hunger hormone. If you have too much ghrelin in your system, you will crave fatty and sugary foods.
Lack of sleep also affects your leptin, which is the hormone responsible for signaling to stop eating. If your brain isn't getting the energy it needs from sleep, it will often try to get it from food.
#2 - More Impulsive
Not getting enough sleep lowers inhibitions and causes your willpower to vanish. Your ability to tell yourself not to eat another bag of chips diminishes, and you may find yourself lashing out at someone.
#3 - Weight Gain
Increased appetite from hormones being jacked up also means weight gain.
Along with the ghrelin and leptin out of whack, metabolism will slow down without proper rest.
#4 - No Memory
When you are in a state of sleep deprivation, you aren't paying as much attention.
Getting enough sleep is important for brain health in the long run. Research has shown that in mice, sleep helps clear toxic molecules from the brain.
Not getting enough sleep can impair your body's ability to keep the nervous system clear.
#5 - Can't Make Decisions
It's no surprise that sleep deprivation impairs your speed and higher-level cognitive processing.
Having troubles making decisions at work or home? This may be why.
#6 - Bad Motor Skills
Your motor skills are important for everyday life, especially lifting weights. If you trip over your feet and have trouble getting around, this is a sign that you are sleep deprived.
Your body has a lapse in how you neurologically function. This lowered reaction time with decreased concentration increases the difficulty of moving and lifting weights.
#7 - Emotions All Over
Ever have a day where you blew everything out of proportion and it feels like your emotions are all over the place? Many people overreact, get anxious, sad, or angry while sleep deprived. Others get giddy and slap-happy.
Which are you?
#8 - Get Sick
If you don't know why you always get sick, sleep deprivation has a huge impact on your body's ability to fight off infections. Research has found that patients who get less than seven hours of sleep per night were almost three times as likely to catch a cold than those who receive 8 or more hours of sleep per night.
Your nervous system produces cytokines when you sleep. These are proteins that fight off infection and inflammation.
#9 - Trouble Seeing
Ever have troubles seeing something you normally see crystal clear? When you skip out on sleep, your ciliary muscle fatigues quickly.
Your ciliary muscle is the muscle that controls eye focus. People who are sleep deprived have a harder time aligning eyes, resulting in double vision.
If you've been skipping out on sleep and having eye troubles, get some rest.
#10 - Bad Skin
While sleeping, our bodies repair damaged cells. Missing out on your "beauty sleep" means that your hormones are going to be out of balance and elevate your circulating estrogen levels.
Your skin will appear older and when you go for long periods of depriving yourself of sleep, wrinkles may form from a decrease in collagen.
#11 - Micro-Sleep
Ever nod off and come to like nothing ever happened? That's your body forcing you to get some rest. Micro-sleep is extremely dangerous when driving, which is why there are so many signs and laws against it.
Next time you nod off, try to get extra rest that night.
How are Gains and Gym Performance Affected by Sleep Deprivation?
We tear muscles down in the gym and rebuild them in the kitchen in bed. Beating our bodies up and not allowing them to actually recover is not ideal for improving your physique.
Our bodies are in a weakened state and our motor skills are less-than-ideal. Along with that, our metabolism slows and hormones get out of whack, causing weight gain and unwanted bloating.
Robbing yourself of sleep is robbing yourself of your gains. Quit wasting time binging on Netflix and get some rest.
How Do You Treat Sleep Deprivation?
By now, it should be obvious the only way to treat sleep deprivation is to sleep.
One night of recovery sleep can reverse adverse effects of total sleep deprivation. Your recovery sleep is more efficient than normal sleep due to the increased amounts of deep and REM sleep.
Mark some things off of your schedule and get the rest you need.
Tips to Getting Enough Sleep
Life is hectic, I get it. Heck, I don't even get enough sleep... But there are some tips that can help you get more bang for your buck if you simply can't get 8 hours of sleep per night.
Tip #1 - Stick to a Schedule
I know the weekends are a time to do whatever, but if you can keep the same sleep schedule as you do during the week, your body's internal clock will eventually make you sleepy at the same time every night. Sure, going to bed at 10 or 11 on Friday night sucks, but your performance and cognitive abilities will thank you.
Tip #2 - Make Sleeping a Ritual
Find something you can do every night that helps you sleep. Do you like reading? Set out to read a few pages before sleep.
Take time to find a relaxing ritual to help get yourself into deep sleep faster. Remember, fapping doesn't affect your gains.
Tip #3 - Avoid Naps
If you have trouble sleeping at night, taking a nap during the day won't help.
Tip #4 - Exercise
Getting off your butt for 30 minutes a day should be a goal. It will burn energy and allow you to fall fast asleep in no time.
Tip #5 - Evaluate Your Room
If you've ever laid there at night and watched the lights and listened to the noises in your room, you may need to change some things.
Eliminating light and other distractions will help. Consider some blackout curtains, eye shades, and ear plugs. According to studies, your room should be in the 60 to 67-degree range for optimal sleep.
Tip #6 - Sleep on a Comfortable Bed
I slept on a futon or couch for years. My back always hurt and I was always tired. I moved to Ohio and bought a bed from a friend and immediately noticed a drastic change in my mood, ability to sleep, and of course, I woke up pain-free.
Find the right mattress and pillow combination for you and you will regret not doing it sooner.