How sleep affects your fitness and what you can do to improve it

AshwagandhaSleep

How sleep affects your fitness and what you can do to improve it

Sleep is an essential part of our health. It keeps both our body and minds functioning well, aids in processes such as the repair and strengthening of muscles, stress recovery, and boosting immunity. With sufficient quality sleep every night, you can give your best at work, at school, and during your workout routines.

Getting enough sleep

It’s recommended that adults ages 26 and above get around seven to nine hours of sleep, nightly (1). However, research reveals that as much as four in 10 Australian adults don’t meet this sleep quota (2). Another survey found that 12% of its respondents reported sleeping for just five and a half hours, and that 76% of them have sleep-related issues (4). An estimated $14.4 billion is spent each year in Australia to address sleep-related problems (5).

There are many things that factor into why Australians don’t get enough sleep, one of which is seasonal changes. One study highlights the relationship between seasons and sleep with the observations that during the year’s sunnier months in the spring summer, people experience earlier wake times, longer daytimes, and higher temperature, all of which can contribute to disrupted or insufficient sleep (3). This is in contrast to colder months in the fall and winter when the sun sets earlier, giving our bodies the illusion of earlier nighttimes. This induces sleepiness earlier in the day, making you want to sleep for longer.

Collectively, sleep issues such as these can affect your level of fitness all throughout the year. Too little or too much sleep can make you sluggish and groggy, a lack of sleep can compromise your body’s recovery and stress out your immune system. You also may not be able to sustain your workouts the same way you would if you were well-rested the night before.

If you’ve ever experienced seasonal change-related sleep issues that have affected your fitness or wish to prevent this, a healthy diet containing all the essential nutrients can be helpful. If you feel you are not getting sufficient nutrients through diet alone, a vitamins subscription can be an option worth exploring. Personalised vitamins can help support sleep, thus helping you maintain a level of physical activity regardless of environmental changes.

Fitness can be understood in more than one way. For some, fitness is the body’s overall well-being while for others, it’s being able to achieve and maintain their weight and size or simply staying physically active. Regardless of the differences in these definitions of fitness, quality sleep plays a role in each of them.

Here are some of the ways sleep is essential to fitness:

Fends off inflammation

Sufficient sleep strengthens your immune system as cytokines that fight off inflammation in the body are stimulated during sleep (6). When we engage in vigorous exercise, our muscles endure small tears and our joints are placed under stress. While inflammation from these occurrences is normal and expected, your body still needs to heal from it in order to grow stronger and build endurance for your next round of exercise.

Keeps hunger pangs at bay

One way sleep can maintain your weight is by regulating your appetite (7). Good quality sleep prevents issues related to your metabolism by lessening the instances of you wanting to grab something unhealthily sugary or salty, or wanting to get out of bed for a midnight snack (8).

Aids memory

Sleep refreshes your mind and helps you retain more information through memory consolidation (9). When we don’t get enough sleep, we might find it harder to learn from the day’s events and use that information to make better decisions. Building memories and being able to learn from them is critical in maintaining and advancing our exercise routines to become more physically fit. Without sleep helping out these functions, we would never remember how to best perform actions during an exercise regimen.

Ashwagandha as part of a vitamin subscription for sleep and fitness

Ashwagandha is a medicinal plant that grows in India and other regions of Asia and Africa. For centuries, it’s been used for its rejuvenating properties, including its potential to increase sleep quality and reduce time to fall asleep. It can be taken as an herbal tea, but as part of a personalised vitamins pack, it comes in more convenient forms perfect for Australians to take on the daily (12).

Below are some of the ways that ashwagandha as part of a vitamins subscription can help you.

Promotes and maintains refreshing sleep

A study assessing the use of ashwagandha in promoting and maintaining refreshing sleep demonstrated that subjects who took the herb experienced an increase in longer sleep hours and falling asleep faster (3). Post-sleep, the same subjects were observed to have higher levels of mental alertness that helped them perform the day’s tasks more efficiently (13). For physically active individuals, this can mean being more alert during exercise.  

More so, after taking ashwagandha throughout the duration of this study, results showed that subjects’ sleep quality consistently increased (14) - suggesting that the herb could have long-term benefits for sleep.

Reduces sleeplessness

Triethylene glycol is the active component of ashwagandha, and what can make your vitamin subscription effective in reducing sleeplessness. It reacts to neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors which affect your sleep-wake reaction of the body and encourages the body to fall asleep (16).

This has a significant influence on lessening the instances of you possibly twisting and turning in bed for hours when you’re unable to fall asleep. This common form of sleeplessness can be reduced to help you feel more energised for exercise and other activities the next day with the help of ashwagandha.

Relieves disturbed sleep

Sleeping disorders are one of the reasons why people are unable to find the sleep continuity their body needs to stay physically fit. In one research study that examined individuals with sleep disorders, it was found that  ashwagandha intake improved the duration and onset of nighttime sleep (17).

You can achieve the quality sleep you’re missing out on by building the vitamins subscription that’s right for you. Including ashwagandha as part of your personalised vitamins can help to address your sleep concerns and improve your level of fitness.

Vitable Australia offers customised vitamin packs to support your body’s needs, including achieving and maintaining quality sleep with ashwagandha. Through personalised vitamin packs, you get to choose only the vitamins that your body needs. Our vitamin subscription in Australia also offers vitamin delivery which makes it a completely hassle-free experience.

References:

  1. “Sleep Needs Across The Lifespan”. Sleep Health Foundation. Published Feb. 2015 on https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/files/pdfs/Sleep-Needs-Across-Lifespan.pdf. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  2. “Asleep on the Job: Costs of Inadequate sleep in Australia”. Sleep Health Foundation. Published Aug. 2017 on https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/files/Asleep_on_the_job/Asleep_on_the_Job_SHF_report-WEB_small.pdf. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  3. Mattingly, S., Grover, T., Martinez, G., Aledavood, T., Robles-Granda, P., Nies, K., Striegel, A., and Mark, G. “The effects of seasons and weather on sleep patterns measured through longitudinal multimodal sensing”. NPJ digital medicine. Published Apr. 28, 2021 on https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-021-00435-2. Accessed Sep.12, 2021
  4. Adams, R., Appleton, S., Taylor, A., McEvoy, D., and Antic, N., “Report to the Sleep Foundation: 2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults”. The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health. Published Jan. 24, 2017 on https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/pdfs/surveys/SleepHealthFoundation-Survey.pdf. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  5. “Poor sleep costs $14.4 billion each year: New Report”. Sleep Health Foundation. Published Apr. 27, 2021 on  https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/news/media-releases/poor-sleep-costs-14-4-billion-each-year-new-report.html. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  6. Lange, T., Dimitrov, S., and Born, J. “Effects of sleep and circadian rhythm on the human immune system”. Annals of the New York Academy of Science. Published Apr. 13, 2010 on https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05300.x. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  7. Spiegel, K., Tasali, E., Penev, P., and Van Cauter, E. “Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite”. Annals of Internal Medicine. Published Dec. 7, 2007 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15583226/. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  8. Depner, CM., Stothard, ER., and Wright, KP. Jr. “Metabolic consequences of sleep and circadian disorders”.Current Diabetes Reports. Published Jul. 2014 on https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11892-014-0507-z. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  9. Rasch, B, and Born, J. “About sleep's role in memory”. Physiological Reviews. Published Apr. 1, 2013 on https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00032.2012. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  10. Reid, K. J., Baron, K. G., Lu, B., Naylor, E., Wolfe, L., and Zee, P. C. “Aerobic exercise improves self-reported sleep and quality of life in older adults with insomnia”. Sleep Medicine. Published Oct. 1, 2011 on https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2010.04.014. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  11. Brand, S., Kalak, N., Gerber, M., Kirov, R., Pühse, U., and Holsboer-Trachsler, E. “High self-perceived exercise exertion before bedtime is associated with greater objectively assessed sleep efficiency”. Sleep medicine. Published Sep. 2014 on https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1389945714002482. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  12. “Ashwagandha Withania Somnifera Uses, Dose, Side Effects, Research”. Easy Ayurveda. Published on https://www.easyayurveda.com/2014/06/22/ashwagandha-withania-somnifera-benefits-dose-side-effects/. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  13. Langade, D., Kanchi, S., Salve, J., Debnath, K., and Ambegaokar, D. (2019). “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study”. Cureus. Published Sep. 28, 2019 on https://www.cureus.com/articles/22928-efficacy-and-safety-of-ashwagandha-withania-somnifera-root-extract-in-insomnia-and-anxiety-a-double-blind-randomized-placebo-controlled-study. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  14. Deshpande, A., Irani, N., Balkrishnan, R., and Benny, I. R. “A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study to evaluate the effects of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep quality in healthy adults.” Sleep medicine. Published Aug. 2020 on https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1389945720301246. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  15. Kaushik, M. K., Kaul, S. C., Wadhwa, R., Yanagisawa, M., and Urade, Y. “Triethylene glycol, an active component of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) leaves, is responsible for sleep induction.” PloS One. Published Feb 2017 on  https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0172508. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  16. Candelario, M., Cuellar, E., Reyes-Ruiz, J. M., Darabedian, N., Feimeng, Z., Miledi, R., Russo-Neustadt, A., and Limon, A. “Direct evidence for GABAergic activity of Withania somnifera on mammalian ionotropic GABAA and GABAρ receptors”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Published Aug. 2, 2015 on  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874115003980. Accessed Sep. 12, 2021
  17. Langade, D., Thakare, V., Kanchi, S., & Kelgane, S. “Clinical evaluation of the pharmacological impact of ashwagandha root extract on sleep in healthy volunteers and insomnia patients: A double-blind, randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study”. Journal of ethnopharmacology. Published Jan. 10, 2021 on https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874120331585. Accessd Sep. 12, 2021