A report from The Washington Post discusses the importance of sleep to a fitness routine and the impact of sleep deprivation on working out.

Your fitness routine is in full swing two months into the year: You’re eating right and you’re exercising, but you’re not yet seeing the results you want.

What’s missing? It might be sleep.

So say an increasing number of studies that show sleep deprivation causing such negative outcomes as an increase in overuse injuries, weight gain, a decrease in muscle mass and a reduction in testosterone (which has a whole host of other negative effects, including low sex drive, depression and bone loss).

“You can have two people who are doing the exact same workout and eating the same good nutrition, but one is seeing huge progress and the other isn’t. A lot of the time, good sleep is the difference,” says Mansur Mendizabal, a personal trainer and kettlebell instructor in the District.

“Sleep is the only time the body is fully recovering and rebuilding,” he says.

In other words, it’s not enough to take a day or two off from training and slouch on the couch and expect good results. It’s sleep — specifically deep sleep — that is the difference-maker when it comes to such things as muscle recovery, mental acuity and reaction time, another important aspect of sports performance.

Get the full story at www.washingtonpost.com