After a session at the gym, you go home and binge watches Netflix episodes all through the night.
Just one more episode won’t do any harm right? As it turns out, it will. Your muscles would prefer it if you would get some shut-eye and tuck in like a decent person and get proper sleep.
After all, not getting proper sleep and rest can hamper the growth of muscle building. Don’t think that just because you duke it out in the gym all day long, your muscles will swell without fail.
A good night’s sleep is more important to muscle building than many people might know. It is only when you are asleep that muscles grow.
Not getting adequate sleep can also cause cramps and overextension of your muscles which can lead to injury.
Why is Sleep Important to build muscles?
If you are looking at muscle building, then you also need to be serious about sleep.
When you work out in the gym, your muscle breakdown and sleep is the time in which they regenerate. This is also the time when they grow and become stronger.
So good sleep is important to build muscles as the actual progress is made while you are asleep.
After you drift off, the pituitary gland secretes the growth hormone which induces the secretion of an insulin-like hormone- which is what is essential for repairing your muscles.
As your body works to turn protein into amino acids during your sleep, the insulin-like hormones push carbs into your muscular cells, which gives them the ability to use those amino acids and start the repair of tissues that were broken down.
After rebuilding, your muscles become faster, stronger, and more explosive.
Energy consumption during Sleep
Sleep helps to conserve energy and lower the work rate of the body by decreasing the metabolism. If you would stay awake during the night, your body would consume energy and require even more food consumption.
Rather than the normal 4 to 6 meals that normal bodybuilders have you’d need to eat even more to offset the consumption of energy and make sure that the proper amount of nutrients is reaching your muscles.
Bodybuilders are especially considerate to conserve energy outside the gym. Pre-sleep meals and nocturnal eating habits make sure that enough energy is reaching your body and provides your muscles with adequate nutrients.
Recharge the Brain
Adenosine or the neurotransmitter that produces ATP (energy storage molecule) is secreted when your body wants to signal you to rest. Its rise and decline are what tells if your brain is actually resting or not as its secretion is also a measure of brain activity.
During sleep, its level decreases, which lets the brain recharge during this time and increase its alertness and productivity when it is awake.
Resting your body as well as the brain is important and has a direct effect on people who want to grow their muscles.
A higher level of alertness means a higher level of motivation which is exactly what bodybuilders need when they work out. Research also points out that proper rest to the brain increases its functioning and alertness.
Thus this gives more weight to the fact that good sleep is important to build muscles and if you want to increase the growth of your muscles, you must manage proper sleep. Here are some tips to help you with it.
Rapid eye movement Is the most active stage of your sleep, which accounts for just 20 to 25 percent of your sleep schedule but is the deepest and crucial part of your sleep schedule.
It is the stage when your body is completely immobilized and completely unaware of its surroundings.
This stage of sleep accounts for maximum time in babies who spend about 50 percent of their time in REM and it decreases to 20 to 25 percent in adults. This is the time when a lot of repairing and body process is done.
A lack of REM sleep is problematic because it is the time when the body and mind are in a state of complete rest and repair work of your body is getting done. REM is the last stage of your sleep.
The first stage is the stage where you are in the middle of falling asleep and being awake. It accounts for 2 to 5 percent of sleep. The second stage is where you are considered to be sleeping.
It accounts for 5 to 60 percent of your sleep schedule. Stages three and four are delta sleep and account for up to 40 percent of your sleep.
Finally, the REM stage in which the body goes into a hibernation-like phase and a lot of internal processes take place.
Now let’s discuss what are the important things to grow muscles?
1. Sleep Longer
Your muscles won’t be growing stronger if you do not give them enough rest. Try to make sure that you stay inside the bed sleeping for 8 hours a day.
Depending on your training activity- for example, intensive training for a marathon- you might need some extra amount of shut-eye to help you repair your muscle and growth.
While this is a fact, make sure that you do not oversleep or sleepless. Cutting back on your sleep can have some serious implications on your health that extend beyond muscle recovery. It can increase the chances of heart problems or obesity.
Not to mention that some studies suggest that a lower amount of sleep shrinks your muscle. Skiing out on your daily sleep induces a higher amount of cortisol which is a stress-inducing hormone in your blood.
This not only inhibits the growth of your muscles but also causes other problems and decreases your motivation levels.
There are many other things that you can do to build stronger muscles and increase the size of your muscles, like exercising, resistance training, a balanced diet, proper protein intake, etc.
And Fit Territory is a site that compares some of the best home gyms, treadmills, elliptical machines, adjustable dumbbells, rowing machines, etc. You can read the comparisons of those machines.
2. Sleep Deeply
Yes, just making 8 hours is not enough. You also have to make sure that those 8 hours are spent in quality sleep. Good sleep hygiene is important for muscular growth.
Make sure that electronics are turned off a while before you go to bed and keep your place cool, dark, and quiet.
Make a sleep routine every night and stick to it. If you wish, you can even practice some relaxing techniques like mediation before you tuck in.
A long, quality, and uninterrupted sleep are important because the biggest spike of growth in your body occurs after 1 to 2 hours you fall asleep.
This is why you must avoid an erratic sleep schedule, which will confuse the body and mess up your internal clock.
Researchers have proven that if you break your schedule by even 1 or 2 hours, the amount of growth hormone will be reduced by a significant amount, even if you complete your 8 hours afterward.
You do not have to worry though, everyone has some busy days once in a while.
An occasional late sleep won’t harm your muscle gain but you should always try to make sure you turn in at your bedtime to maximize your gains.
3. Have a drink before you tuck in
The drink we refer to here is a protein drink. Muscles are tissues that are made of amino acids, which are synthesized from the proteins in our intake.
If you have a lack of protein in your body, your muscles won’t be able to repair themselves overnight and all your sleep might be a waste.
A lack of proper nutrients could even harm your muscles and hamper their growth in the future.
As long as you make sure that you take in at least 30 grams of protein before you go to bed, your body will be sufficiently backed up for all the repairs that it might need.
You can take stuff like yogurt, cottage cheese instead of a protein shake if you wish.
Protein is rather heavy and its breakdown takes some time, so they will sustain you throughout the night.
While you might be getting enough in terms of nutrients from your diet during the day, an extra dose will not hurt your chances.
1- What is REM?
REM is a rapid eye movement. It is the last stage of sleep when the body goes into a paralysis like a stage and is the stage where dreams occur.
2- Is good sleep directly related to muscle building?
Yes, there is a direct correlation between good sleep and the growth of muscles. It is during the time when you are sleeping that muscle growth actually takes place.
3- How does sleep affect muscle growth?
During sleep, your body goes into recovery mode and they start repairing themselves to fix any tears after your workout. After they recover, they also show growth. Erratic sleep can confuse your body and hamper growth which is why continuous and good sleep is important to build muscles.
4- Is sleeping enough for muscle growth?
While sleep is important, so is the quality of your sleep. It is no good if you keep waking in the middle of the night. Also if you have a schedule, then it is better to stick to it as your body adjusts to it and starts its process accordingly.
Both researchers and professional bodybuilders will swear that sleep is important for muscle growth as well as full alertness during training sessions.
It enhances muscle recovery by protein synthesis and release of growth hormones, which gets promoted when a person gets 8 hours of quality sleep. This makes it paramount to get a good sleep if you want to build muscles.
Recovery and growth will be inhibited if one suffers from insomnia or just refuses to sleep.
This can also cause many other problems that are unrelated to muscle growth and it can seriously affect the quality of life and health of an individual.
Be sure that you get enough sleep if you want to make sure that your body recovers well.