Sleep Your Way To Muscle Growth

Sleep – many underestimate the importance of it. We all know we need it to feel rested, but getting enough of it is essential to muscle growth. Next time you consider getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep after having gone to the gym during the day, think again.

To develop muscle growth and to be healthy, it is apparent that exercise and nutrition play an important role. Sleep is an equally as important factor in this equation. When you damage (in a good way!) your muscle fibers during strength training, your muscles will grow as a result. While you sleep, this is the time that your muscles and tissues are able to repair themselves. Therefore, if you are lacking sleep, your muscles and tissues are unable to repair themselves effectively, leading to a lack of muscle growth. Hormones allow your body to recover but are unable to perform their job when you deprive yourself of rest.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that “causes muscle protein breakdown” as a result of physical or mental stress. When you don’t get a good night’s rest, more cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands which “sends your body into a catabolic state that cannibalizes your muscle tissue.” When trying to build muscle, this is a REAL issue.

The human growth hormone, on the other hand,  is extremely helpful when trying to build muscle or losing body fat. The majority of this hormone is released “during the deeper stages of sleep.” With this said, if you do not get adequate sleep, specifically deep sleep, the growth hormone is unable to be released effectively.

Lack of sleep also causes the resistance of insulin, meaning that your cells are unable to get the proper nutrients, making it more difficult “for muscle cells to build new muscle proteins” Additionally, lack of sleep restricts the production of testosterone.

Sleep is incredibly important and many of us put don’t give it as high of a priority as it should have.  A minimum of 7-8 hours of quality sleep allows us to have a clear mind, feel well-rested, perform at our best, and allow our bodies to recover and rest. We have to take care of our bodies, as we will be living in them for the rest of our lives.

If you are unable to get a good rest at night, consider these tips:

  1. Develop a routine by going to sleep and waking up at the same time (yes, that means on the weekends too!)
  2. Exercising too close to bedtime will elevate your body temperature and give you additional energy, both of which interfere with sleep.
  3. Lower the temperature at night – we tend to sleep better that way!
  4. Limit the use of electronics (yes, that means TV and cell phone) roughly 1-2 hour before bedtime.
  5. Take a warm bath, meditate, or drink some tea before bed to relax your body and mind.

Make sleep a priority and you will see major changes – physically and mentally. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below! What are your tips on getting better sleep?


Main Photo: Monster Supplements

Body Quote: Quote Fancy

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