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The Secret to Getting Healthy? Hit the Sheets.

The Secret to Getting Healthy? Hit the Sheets.

If you’ve committed to a workout routine, paired with a healthy diet, you may think you’re doing everything right for your body and for your health. However, have you ever paused to ask “What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?”

Amongst your efforts to workout and maintain a healthy diet, meeting deadlines at work may have resulted in late nights at the office, or, on the other end, an intriguing Netflix drama may have sucked you in, each episode ending on a cliffhanger that will only be resolved by watching the next one. Pretty soon, 12am has become your normal bedtime, and you’ve trained your body to function on the bare minimum sleep requirements.

You get by the first few weeks, but then you notice a level of fatigue that’s not doing you any favors. Your reliance on coffee and sugar become a standard operating procedure first thing in the morning to get your mind and body turned on. Next, you notice you’re suddenly getting sick more often throughout the year, maybe even resulting in an infection or two. You think, it’s nothing antibiotics can’t fix.

As the years go by, your doctor alarms you with the news that you’re now facing a chronic disease.

How, with a healthy diet and committed workout routine, does the risk of chronic disease appear? What’s wrong with this equation? The not-so-obvious problem that’s facing people today is simply a lack of shuteye.


One of the best things about our workout is that it’s your hour to disconnect and leave your stress at the door. You also should disconnect from your devices at bedtime! In fact, our sleep cycle is heavily influenced by artificial light that burns bright during nighttime hours. This exposure to environmental light suppresses the effect of melatonin, the natural hormone in your body that helps induce sleep.

It’s widely known that we need sleep like we need air, water, and food. When we neglect our need for rest and get too little sleep we begin to experience side effects. We put ourselves at risk of physical and mental health disorders that can dramatically affect our quality of life. Chronic sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of several chronic diseases including: heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. It's like a domino effect; once one aspect of your health starts to waver, others may soon follow.


A lack of sleep also disrupts other hormones produced in your body that directly affect weight gain, releasing more ghrelin (the hormone that increases hunger) while decreasing your leptin levels (the hormone that suppresses your appetite). Because sleep is so intricately weaved in your body’s metabolic processes, a lack thereof can have profound implications on your body’s natural process of converting what you consume into energy. In addition, when you deplete your body of sleep on a recurring basis, your body soon becomes resistant to insulin, a hormone that absorbs glucose (or sugar) levels in the body. Becoming insulin-resistant makes your body prone to weight gain and diabetes, among other weight-related chronic diseases.


Ever noticed you're more irritable when you're sleep-deprived? There’s a scientific backbone to this; sleep deficiency has demonstrated links to depression, anxiety and emotional instability. In fact, people who have insomnia have a tenfold risk of developing depression compared to those who sleep well.


We all have the occasional restless night, but consistent signs of poor sleep can include daytime fatigue, irritability and difficulty concentrating. You may also experience headaches, mood swings or a depressed mood. Recognizing these symptoms is the first step toward improving your sleep habits and, by extension, your overall health.


The benefits of sleep to optimize physical performance and appetite control are only part of the equation. The list of benefits you receive with 8 hours of sleep under your belt contribute to the following:

  • Protects your immune system from harmful substances, acting as a shield to fight off common infections.
  • Boosts your intellectual functions, memory, concentration, alertness, judgment and mood. It’s essential for your brain to work at its best!
  • Affects stress hormones, equipping you with the patience to deal with daily struggles and inconveniences we encounter.
  • Supports your growth hormones as you age.
  • Complements your breathing, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health.


Instead of using your workout as a replacement for sleep, use sleep to enhance your workouts. Whether you’re new to the Orangetheory brand or you’re a seasoned Orangetheory veteran, research supports the fact that you need a substantial energy reserve to get the most out of the interval training experience. Our workout incorporates strength training to create microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. Don’t confuse these micro tears with major muscle tears that result in injury, however. Micro tears are completely necessary for your muscles to grow. While many of us think that taking a couple rest days is enough to repair our muscles from the wear and tear during exercise, the best way to heal and rebuild is to hit the reset button with 8 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep a night. Your body will thank you for the opportunity to recharge and let the changes from your workout take effect.


The increased level of those diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, and other chronic diseases is evidence that the growing population is officially sick from being tired. We are dying for a good night’s sleep.

At Orangetheory Fitness, our brand purpose is simple: to help people live a longer, more vibrant life. The secret to More Life does not come at the cost of less sleep. As we now know, sleep deprivation can lead to a host of medical issues and chronic diseases down the road that can potentially shave precious years off of your life. Get MORE out of your workouts with MORE sleep, and it will transform your LIFE.


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