There is a renewed and spirited focus on sleep and the value of recovery after exercise, with food reason. The field of exercise science continues to find more that it’s recovery which enable our bodies to build strength, endurance and lean muscle tissue. Not allowing ourselves the needed recovery time may not only leave us weaker, but it also increases the risk of injury.

While one or two nights of poor sleep may not have a lasting impact on the body’s ability to recover from exercise, studies have shown that consistent inadequate rest can produce subtle changes in hormone levels, muscle recovery and mood. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “One in five American adults show signs of chronic sleep deprivation, making the condition a widespread public health problem.

While there are still many mysteries surrounding the complexities of sleep, research has indicated that sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone that reportedly can contribute to weight gain), decreased activity of human growth hormone (believed active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis.

Next time your pillow top beckons you remember, giving in is part of the workout and you will be rewarded with better health and the energy to tackle more during your day.