"From W-O-D to Z-Z-Z: The Surprising Link Between CrossFit and Sleeping Better" | Iconic Fitness Dubai Marina JLT

“From W-O-D to Z-Z-Z: The Surprising Link Between CrossFit and Sleeping Better”

From W-O-D to Z-Z-Z The Surprising Link Between CrossFit and Sleeping Better

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep, but how many of us actually get it on a regular basis? As I’ve gotten older (and I’m sure many of you will resonate with this), I’ve found it more and more difficult to either drift off to dreamland, or stay there long enough to wake up feeling rested. Whether it’s thinking about all the things I didn’t do that day, everything that needs to be done tomorrow, or the sound of my hamster running on her wheel, there’s never a shortage of barriers between me and some decent shut eye! But the fact still remains, a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential!

Sleep, QUALITY sleep, is so much more than merely a state of rest; it stands as a fundamental biological process crucial for maintaining overall health and a multitude of physiological and psychological functions, including immune response, cognitive function, emotional stability, and longevity.

Which brings us to the next and most important question – How exactly can we achieve the sleep we so desperately desire and require? Well, there are many possible solutions, but the one I would like to not only suggest, but advocate for, is CrossFit!

Understanding CrossFit

In contrast to conventional gym routines, CrossFit adopts a more holistic approach by blending together different elements of training such as weightlifting, aerobic exercises, and bodyweight movements. Central to CrossFit (and possibly the most loved and hated part of every session) is the “Workout of the Day” (WOD), which varies daily and aims to challenge participants to complete several exercises efficiently whilst racing against the clock.

CrossFit workouts can be scaled, accommodating individuals of all fitness levels. This adaptability contributes to CrossFit’s accessibility, attracting a diverse range of enthusiasts, from the most elite athletes to complete novices. For a more in-depth understanding, click here.

The Benefits of CrossFit for Sleep

CrossFit’s unique combination of high-intensity exercises and functional movements has resulted in many studies aimed at exploring its potential benefits for sleep quality. Scientific evidence, as well as first hand experience, suggests several ways in which CrossFit can positively impact your night time ZZZ-time:

  1. Enhanced Deep Sleep Phases: CrossFit may increase the duration of deep sleep, by lengthening the slow wave stage of sleep.
    This is the most important stage of sleep (the ‘slow wave’ stage), as this is when the body does all its repairing, rebuilding and rejuvenating. Our natural human growth hormone (HGH) is released, which is beneficial for several functions to occur – stimulating bone growth, improving immune function, inducing fat burning, as well as maintaining hearth health. Participating in regular exercise such as CrossFit classes, at least 3 times a week, has been shown to both help and prolong this extremely essential phase of sleep.
  2. Stress Reduction: CrossFit workouts, contrary to what people might think, can also act as an effective form of stress relief.
    The physical exertion required during any session, combined with the mental focus required to execute the exercises (as well as simply finish the workout) can actually help clear your mind and relieve stored up stress. Exercise and physical activity also helps us de-stress by releasing endorphins into the brain. Some sleep issues may actually result from a low amount of serotonin, ergo exercising can also improve one’s mood and decrease depression and anxiety through the release of these ‘happy’ chemicals, which should furthermore assist in falling asleep and staying there! 
  1. Improved Sleep Onset Latency: Engaging in CrossFit may shorten the time it takes to transition from wakefulness to sleep.
    For those of you wondering, ‘sleep onset latency’ is the technical term for the amount of time it takes a person to fall asleep come light’s out. This point really isn’t too hard to understand (if you know anything about a good CrossFit workout). Due to the increased energy expenditure required to perform heavy lifting, combined with metabolic conditioning that usually follows, your body’s demand for rest and recovery is obviously enhanced. This consequently facilitates a swifter passage from wide-eyes to shut-eyes.
  2. Regulation of Circadian Rhythm: CrossFit can help regulate the body’s internal clock, making it easier to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
    Attending regular CrossFit sessions during the week, preferably at the same time each day, can improve both the timing and strength of Circadian rhythms (i.e. sleep cycles). This translates into better quality sleep, an increase in melatonin – the ‘sleepy’ hormone, a more consistent flow of energy levels throughout the day, and a sharper brain during more cognitive-demanding tasks!

So in case it wasn’t yet clear, we can safely and confidently conclude that CrossFit can in fact have a positive impact on the quality AND length of your sleep, which will then overflow into many other wins!

From reducing stress and anxiety to promoting physical exhaustion (which might not sound like a good thing, but is really most ideal) and of course fostering a sense of accomplishment – integrating CrossFit into your daily routine and general lifestyle holds great promise not only for enhancing physical fitness but also for promoting restful and rejuvenating sleep.

Don’t give up on your dreams just yet – We can help!

Click here to sign up for our 30-Day Trial. We’ll book you in for a 30 minute complimentary Transformation session with one of our Iconic coaches to find out more about your current fitness levels and abilities, lifestyle habits, and health and wellness goals. And from there, the real journey begins!