Lack of Adequate Quality Sleep Can Lead To Muscle Dysmorphia, Study Shows

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Researchers from the University of Toronto suggest that muscle dysmorphia, the perception of not being muscular enough despite a healthy physique, may be linked to various sleep problems. They emphasize the importance of sufficient sleep after workouts and note a potential connection between seeking larger muscles and experiencing sleep difficulties, such as reduced sleep duration and difficulty falling asleep.

Individuals with sleep problems suffer from muscle dysmorphia problems

The study surveyed 900 adolescents and young adults, finding that those with severe symptoms of muscle dysmorphia experienced reduced sleep duration and increased sleep disturbances over a two-week period.

According to Kyle T. Ganson, an assistant professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, inadequate sleep can greatly harm teenagers and young adults, leading to heightened adverse mental health issues. This is especially worrisome for individuals experiencing symptoms of muscle dysmorphia, as poor sleep could worsen their functional and social difficulties, potentially escalating suicidal ideations and actions.

Previous research indicates that, typically, teenagers and young individuals frequently obtain less sleep than the recommended 7-10 hours per night. Concurrently, numerous investigations indicate that insufficient sleep serves as an indicator for mental health conditions and displays a noticeable correlation with manifestations such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Professor Ganson and his team’s research stands out as one of the pioneering studies delving into the correlation between sleep patterns and muscle dysmorphia, marking an innovative stride in this domain.

Obsessive thoughts, esteem and anxiety contributes to poor sleep

The link between increased muscle dysmorphia symptoms and sleep issues is complex. Individuals with low tolerance for their appearance, obsessive thoughts, and anxiety about their body may suffer from poor sleep. Additionally, exercise, especially muscle-building workouts done in the evening to accommodate work schedules, can disrupt sleep patterns.

Individuals with muscle dysmorphia symptoms are inclined to use dietary supplements marketed for enhancing workouts and muscle growth, often containing caffeine or stimulants detrimental to sleep. Anabolic-androgenic steroids, prevalent among those with muscle dysmorphia, also disrupt sleep. Healthcare professionals should acknowledge these concerns amidst societal pressures for muscularity.

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