Is it bad to workout when you’re tired? Here’s why you shouldn’t lift on a lack of sleep

There are two kinds of people in the world; those that enjoy working out and spend all day, everyday in the gym pumping some iron and breathing incredibly heavily (why do they always do that?), and those who simply roll themselves out of their beds and into the gym with drool still on their faces and pillow creases on their forehead. It’s safe to say that we’re the latter, but we always find that working out in the morning wakes us up for the day and gets the dreaded workout done before a day of work or chilling out. But is it bad to workout when you’re tired? Here’s why you shouldn’t lift on a lack of sleep?

How much sleep are you getting?

We’ve always heard the age-old saying that you need to get at least eight hours of sleep to be able to function – and that doesn’t go out of the window when you’re contemplating whether you want to gym or not to gym. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation states that you need between seven and nine hours of sleep for optimum physical and mental health. If you’re used to pulling all-nighters or just love being awake at 3 am for the sake of it, you should know that you’re not getting as much sleep as you should be getting, which is a problem if you choose to wake up early and go to the gym. However, this doesn’t just apply to those who intentionally reduce their sleep intake. If you tried with all of your might to get a good amount of Zs but just couldn’t get off into dreamworld, it’s still important to skip your workout for the day, because you won’t be able to mentally focus on what you’re doing, and this may affect your physical movements, leading to injury.

Protecting your immune system

Yet, this goes beyond much more than simply falling asleep on the treadmill. According to Cathe Friedrich, a fitness fanatic and personal trainer, skipping out on sleep or just not getting enough can also be detrimental to your health on the whole. She believes that working out while tired can disrupt your immune system, stunt your bodies ability to repair damaged muscles, and even affect your cognitive function for the day. Because of this, your brain becomes less aware of danger around you, which means that you are more likely to make mistakes which can injure you in the long run.

More sleep = better exercise

In fact, one study has discovered that working out awake and full of energy can actually improve your workouts drastically. This Stanford University study followed the lives of female tennis players during normal sleep patterns, and sleep patterns that included more hours of sleep per day. They found that the tennis players performed better in their drills when they added more sleep into their routine than when they continued on the same sleeping pattern.

How to get more sleep?

Okay, so the information is all there – but how do you actually get more sleep? Well, there are a few steps you can take to get more sleep at night, and the first comes from ditching your phone. No, don’t throw it in the trash, but throw it in a different room before you go to bed. The bright lights of your cell phone screen can drastically affect your sleep patterns, and studies have found that leaving them outside of your bedroom can help you get a better night’s sleep. It’s also a good idea to let your brain wind down before you go to bed. You could read in bed or even have a bath. Relax yourself; you deserve it.

So, now we know that working out when you’re tired can affect your physical health, you better get ready to catch some real Zs tonight to wake up fresh and relaxed in the morning to pump even more iron.

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