Why Does Strength Training Make Me So Sleepy?
February 26th 2020
Depending on your hormonal changes, diseases, recovery, and programming, strength training will make you sleepy. And the best way to recovery from strength training is to allow your body to recover and to minimize your stress levels.
It did force me to wonder though, should strength training make you very sleepy?
Is this supposed to happen?
And should I fight it?
We will not go over lazy reasons such as not eating breakfast, medication, etc.
Those reasons have nothing to do with feeling sleepy after a hard workout.
We are talking about post training, you feel sleepy as a result of lifting weights.
That is it.
And we will go in-depth on why this might be the case.
Here is what you need to know about strength training and sleepiness.
When you lift weights in the gym (heavy weights), your body is taxed.
As a result, your body undergoes a ton of changes that you may not be aware about.
For instance, are you aware that when you are sleeping, your body releases an intense amount of heat?
This is one reason why many Strongman competitors need to stay cool and hydrated.
One is because they are so massive.
But also, they have been training intensely and consistently.
Or it could be adrenal fatigue.
Though when I read about it, it may just be some bro-science.
Still, what else could explain you feeling so tired the next day, just wanting to sleep all the time or not do anything.
Something may actually be wrong
This is not common but a lot of people are unaware of their own symptoms
Strength training can make someone sleepy but if you find yourself not making progress adequately, you may want to check your thyroid.
Again, this is related to hormones but this condition is not detected until symptoms are shown to greatly impact someone’s health.
Some of these symptoms include fatigue and weight loss.
One of the most tell-tale signs of this condition is the bulgy eyeballs someone may have.
You are exerting yourself
When you exert yourself physically, you only have so much energy stored in your muscles.
After all your short tern energy reserves are used it, you will slowly begin to burn long term energy reserves (fats) or until you eat another meal that has short term energy (glucose) available.
This is one reason why some lifters may eat candy before their workouts.
Still, your energy is limited each day and you can only do so much.
This is another reason why people are criticized for wasting time in the gym.
Just do your compound movements and leave to go home and rest.
The biggest reason why you need to rest is because when you lifted heavy weights in the gym, your muscle fibers are damaged and need to be repaired.
In addition to also refilling your short term energy reserves, your body also adapts to make sure that you were a little bit stronger than the day before since this stimulus (your heavy lifting) destroyed your body a bit.
Chain reactions occur in your body and you feel sleepy post-workout.
This is intentional.
You can try to fight it but unless you do not want your progress, then go ahead.
Poor recovery makes it worse
If you are not eating right or sleeping enough, you will feel the effects of your strength training.
You will get sick, be sore for longer periods of time or even worse, end up in the hospital because your muscles cannot repair itself properly.
Again, this does not happen often since nearly all lifters have access to food even if it is ramen or canned tuna.
Carbs are carbs and protein is protein, no matter the quality.
And when you do not have money, you will take what you can get.
Will eating at a caloric surplus make you feel less sleepy?
I guess in a way it does help with your recovery.
So, you may feel less sleepiness but at the same time, you will probably hit the gym with even greater intensity down the line.
So, the net result might be the same and averaged over the course of 1 year, strength athletes will sleep about the same amount.
Do not worry about overtraining
If you feel sleepy constantly, chances are you are doing it right.
You are strength training correctly and you should be making progress.
Unless you are abusing your body by not resting, staying stressed and not eating, very few lifters can actually overtrain.
The term you should be using is under-recovered.
Your body will exert as much effort as it can do at the time.
However, what is it capable of doing in the future is dependent on what you do outside of the gym.
This means that if you are getting wasted on the weekends and not sleeping enough regularly, it will all catch up to you and your training will suffer.
What would our ancestors say about strength training today?
We can look in history and reveal what our Roman emperors and philosophers said about strength training.
From Letters from a Stoic Letter XV (15), Seneca believed that strength training drains your vitality.
And the process of recovery where we stuff our faces with food sharply decreases our mental alertness.
The ancient Roman philosophers were some of the most practical people that ever existed.
Of course, you can divide exercises into many different categories.
And if you ask where heavy training, strength training, barbell training should be, they would certainly tell you that these compound movements definitely drain you.
However, there is a plus in all of this.
Since they are draining, you can get results much faster since you prompted your body to recover harder.
Depending on your status in life, this can be an option or luxury for you.
Do not let the ancient Romans fool you.
Strength is never a weakness and very few people are blessed genetically with the gift of strength.
If you decide to embark on this journey, you will be praised.
But be aware that there are consequences for this action.
Hard work, grit, and yes, you guessed it - sleepiness as well.