Can HIIT Workouts Improve Sleep Quality?
When our routines are thrown off, our sleep quality takes a hit too, especially if sleep was challenging already. That’s why we were thrilled to learn about the results from a new research study showing that occasionally participating in a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout the day after poor sleep could help lessen at least some of the negative metabolic effects that lack of sleep has on the body. The sample size was small, and the study was performed in a very controlled lab setting, but 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).
The participants had their blood glucose levels monitored along with other measurements to look at how well their cells used energy, and how well they were able to build muscle and recover.
The group that only had 4 hours’ time in bed WITHOUT HIIT sessions showed reduced glucose tolerance (leading to 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 only 4 hours’ time 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 metabolic indications of a poor night’s sleep!
As we mentioned above, there are some limitations to this study, and more research needs to be done in order to determine the relationship between poor sleep and HIIT workouts. We realize that we can’t generalize the findings across populations, but it is possible that you can’t reverse some of the metabolic effects of chronic lack of sleep, so we all need to prioritize sleep! Adding in some HIIT training after a less–than–ideal night of rest sure sounds like it may be a useful tool to support sleep and your metabolic fitness.
If you experience chronic sleep issues, contact us for personalized support. You can find link to our Services page here.