Sleep has a dramatic impact on everything to do with our body, as well as our mental state, and the state of our soul in my opinion. Our interpretation and impression of the world around us varies greatly depending on how much sleep we get. A mountain can look like a small hill when we are well rested, and the opposite is also true.
It is during sleep that our body recovers from exercise, repairs the micro tears in our muscle tissue, and generates new muscle tissue as well. Our body maximizes its output of growth hormone during sleep. For this reason alone, sleep can be a very anabolic state, not to mention the fat utilizing, and anti-aging benefits of growth hormone as well.
Another important occurrence during sleep is the replenishment of critical neurotransmitters that we need to train effectively as well as safely. These neurotransmitters include dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, acetylcholine, and many more. The role of these chemicals is to relay, amplify, and modulate signals between a neuron and a cell. These neurotransmitters are found in vesicles that cluster beneath the membrane on the presynaptic side of the synapse. They release into the synaptic cleft, where they bind to receptors located in the membrane on the postsynaptic side of the synapse.
The result of the biochemical actions and reactions I have just described are responsible for our ability to focus and pay attention, for our motivation, our overall energy levels, not to mention for the ability needed for our muscles to contract. The only way that our body can replenish these chemicals that we need to perform our best is through the act of sleep.
Sleep is also important for the health of our immune system. Without enough sleep our body can never be operating optimally, and our health will decline. Not getting enough sleep is likely the single fastest way to undo our good health. inadequate sleep has been linked to issues such as depression, reduced immunity to diseases, heart problems, and it also increases our appetite.
Regarding our attempts to grow our muscles, not getting enough sleep is especially counter productive. When we don’t get enough deep sleep, we don’t allow our muscles to recuperate and grow. Not only does this negatively impact our goals, but it can also lead to injury due to muscle breakdown, and overtraining resulting from lack of recovery.
Furthermore, just like sleep releases anabolic hormones, lack of sleep releases catabolic hormones that are detrimental to our overall health and muscle gains. Increases in cortisol, increased body fat, and muscle wasting are some of the results that lack of sleep will cause. Combine that with the lessened anabolic output, and lack of sleep is truly disastrous for our muscle-building progress.
As I mentioned earlier, lack of sleep can contribute to injury due to the lack of recuperation our muscles receive. Another risk of injury comes from the fact that lack of sleep will dramatically impact our ability to pay attention while we are training. As our attention span is now lessened, our form will inevitably suffer as a direct result.
The message is clear. Sleep deeply and grow massive muscles, as well as enjoy good health. Ignore your body’s needs, and your body will also ignore your needs. Taking care of yourself benefits more than you think, and your new muscle will be all the convincing you should need.