In this article:
- New research detects the efficacy of HIIT workouts for improved health markers despite lack of sleep
Can HIIT Workouts Improve Sleep Quality?
When our routines are thrown off, our sleep quality takes a hit too; especially if you, like many athletes, already have athlete sleep problems. That’s why we were thrilled to learn about the results from a new research study that shows how you can optimize your sleep and learn to snooze like a pro! It showed the benefits of occasionally participating in a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout the day after poor sleep. Turns out, this could help lessen some of the negative metabolic effects that lack of sleep has on the body. Basically, embracing HIIT could fast-track your way to achieving your athletic goals. The sample size was small, and the study was performed in a very controlled lab setting. However, the results look promising.
Here's the summary
The sample population included 24 healthy, active men aged 18-40 years. The participants were divided into three groups.
- Group #1 spent 8 hours in bed.
- Group #2 spent 4 hours in bed.
- Group #3 spent 4 hours in bed, like Group #2, but added a HIIT workout session throughout the course of the following day (10, 60–second intervals, 3x per week).
Meanwhile, the scientists conducting the study performed athlete glucose monitoring. They also took other measurements looking at how well their cells used energy and were able to build muscle/recover.
Group #2—who spent 4 hours in bed without HIIT sessions—showed reduced glucose tolerance (causing a shift toward body fat storage); a reduced ability to use energy; and a decrease in the ability to build critical lean mass.
Group #3—who spent 4 hours in bed, but who also did HIIT sessions—did not show the same negative metabolic effects. In fact, the HIIT session group seemed to have no indications of a poor night’s sleep on their athlete metabolic rate!
As we mentioned above, there are some limitations to this study. More research needs to be done to determine the relationship between poor sleep and HIIT workouts. We also recognize that we can’t generalize the findings across populations.
However, you may be unable to reverse the effects on your metabolism if you struggle with chronic athlete sleep disturbance. So, we all need to prioritize sleep! Adding some HIIT training after a poor night’s rest may be a useful athlete sleep aid for metabolic fitness.
If you experience chronic sleep issues, contact us for personalized support. You can find the link to our Services page here.