MAY 03, 2021 6:31 AM PDT

Want to Become a Better Runner? Get More Sleep.

WRITTEN BY: Alexandria Bass


Want to get the most out of your workout routine? Don't skimp on sleep, especially if you're focusing on endurance and working out multiple days in a row. Researchers at Ritsumeikan University in Japan found partial sleep deprivation reduces endurance performance on the second day of working out two days in a row.

Controlling for diet and amount and type of physical activity, two athletic groups were compared between two days of working out to see how changes in sleep amount affected strength and endurance from day 1 to day 2. On day 1, both groups ran for 90 minutes and completed 100 drop jumps. That night, the control group slept for 8 hours and the partial-sleep-deprivation group slept for 40% of their usual sleep hours. Sleep duration's effects on endurance and muscular strength performance were then examined on day 2 after subjects ran for 20 minutes.

Variables examined were maximal strength, maximal oxygen consumption, respiratory exchange rate, and time to exhaustion. After only one night of partial sleep deprivation, participants in this group had a significantly lower respiratory exchange ratio and shorter time to exhaustion but, interestingly, had no significant differences in maximal strength or maximal oxygen consumption compared to the group that slept for 8 hours. These findings suggest that partial sleep deprivation between 2 days of working out leads to quicker exhaustion and alterations to burning fat without significant changes to muscle strength or heart or lung function.

Researchers speculate that skimping on sleep may reduce endurance by altering how the body uses glucose for energy and by shortening the amount of time muscles have for replenishing glycogen levels. More research is needed to examine these ideas and to examine the effects of sleep quality as well on exercise performance.

So how much sleep should you get after a tough workout to maximize your performance the next day? Aim for 9 to 10 hours.

Sources: Physical Activity and Nutrition

About the Author
  • Alexandria (Alex) is a freelance science writer with a passion for educating the public on health issues. Her other professional experience includes working as a speech-language pathologist in health care, a research assistant in a food science laboratory, and an English teaching assistant in Spain. In her spare time, Alex enjoys cycling, lap swimming, jogging, and reading.
You May Also Like
JUN 07, 2021
Cardiology
Researchers Find a Way to Improve Outcomes After a Heart Attack
JUN 07, 2021
Researchers Find a Way to Improve Outcomes After a Heart Attack
It's thought that in the United States, there is a heart attack once every 40 seconds, or that each year, about 80,0 ...
JUN 08, 2021
Immunology
Is the Pfizer-BioNtech Vaccine Variant-Resistant?
JUN 08, 2021
Is the Pfizer-BioNtech Vaccine Variant-Resistant?
Genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have emerged over the course of the pandemic, threatening public health efforts to limit ...
JUN 12, 2021
Health & Medicine
Teenagers With Sleep Issues More Likely to Use Cannabis
JUN 12, 2021
Teenagers With Sleep Issues More Likely to Use Cannabis
Teenagers are renowned for going to bed late and sleeping in. But if disrupted sleep gets out of hand for young people, ...
JUN 11, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Bad Fat in the Tumor Microenvironment May Disrupt Killer T Cells
JUN 11, 2021
Bad Fat in the Tumor Microenvironment May Disrupt Killer T Cells
The immune system can detect and destroy pathogenic and cancerous cells, but sometimes those dangerous cells can evade t ...
JUN 18, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
FDA Approves First New Drug Since 2014 for Weight-loss
JUN 18, 2021
FDA Approves First New Drug Since 2014 for Weight-loss
A new medication called ‘Wegovy’ produced by Novo Nordisk has been approved by the Food and Drug Administrat ...
JUN 20, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Revealing Epigenetic Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
JUN 20, 2021
Revealing Epigenetic Causes of Type 1 Diabetes
Our bodies have to regulate the level of glucose, or sugar, in the blood. The hormone insulin, produced by beta cells in ...
Loading Comments...