Stuck at home? You’re in the perfect place for this fitness activity.

 

Physical fitness is made up of three core elements: exercise, nutrition, and sleep.

 

That’s right, sleep. Sleep is critical to muscle growth, weight loss, endurance, coordination, and so many other things that you’re looking to achieve by way of those pushups, sit-ups, squats, cardio classes, and the like.

 

And if you’re having to spend more time at home these days, well, you’re in the perfect “facility” for this important fitness routine. So why not take advantage?

 

If you think you build muscle while at the gym—or by doing a bodyweight workout at home—think again. You tear down your muscle fibers while working out, and they repair and grow stronger while you rest. During sleep, your body produces muscle-building hormones, including human growth hormone (HGH). Sleep is also when blood flow to your muscles increases, which aids greatly in that growth and repair. Getting 8 hours of sleep (or more) will help you work out harder and build lean muscle more quickly.

 

Sleep also improves muscle coordination by cementing muscle recall linked to body movements. You’ll be better at doing those functional fitness and cardio movements if you’re making sleep a priority. Together with the strength gains that occur during sleep, you’ll improve your overall athletic ability.

 

Of course, sleep can also positively or negatively affect your weight. Too little sleep can throw off your hormones, including the hormone that increases hunger and appetite. Lack of sleep can also cause your body to store fat in those places you don’t want it.

 

Strange as it may seem, a lot of doctors and fitness experts will tell you that if time restrictions cause you to choose between exercise and sleep, choose sleep.

 

So put on your workout clothes (in this case, pajamas), make sure your equipment is ready (fluff up those pillows), and get ready to zzzzzzzzz. You’ll be better off for it.