When it comes to building muscle, many people’s first thoughts are probably spending hours in the gym lifting heavy weights and spending time preparing meals to stay on track with your diet. While this is true, one of the most overlooked variables that influences your ability to progress with your fitness and muscle-building goals is sleep. It is a fact that most people do not sleep enough, which directly affects your health and fitness since during sleep, growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis (provided protein is consumed prior to sleep) occurs. These are only two beneficial aspects of sleep. Energy consumption reduction and brain cell restoration are two other aspects equally important for fitness-minded individuals. A lack of sleep also results in increased cortisol levels throughout the day which can lead to muscle catabolism and increased rates of lipogenesis (fat storage). Furthermore, a lack of sleep leads to increased caloric consumption and cravings for simple carbohydrates due the brains necessity for energy.
Here’s a quick list of all the detrimental aspects of a lack of sleep on your physique, fitness and health:
- Reduced muscle protein synthesis
- Low testosterone
- Lowered growth hormone
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Lack of adherence to exercise program
- Suppressed immune system
- Increased fat storage
- Increased cravings for high glycemic index carbohydrates
- Increased caloric consumption
5 Tips On How To Sleep for Muscle Building
- Establish a routine. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Limit Stimulants. For at least 4 hours before bedtime, consume no caffeine, alcohol or nicotine.
- Consume a casein-based protein (dairy or supplement) before going to sleep to induce protein synthesis.
- Aim to get 6-10 hours of sleep a night.
- Have your daily water intake taken at least 3 hours before bedtime. Drinking too much before bedtime will cause you to get up in the middle of the night to urinate.
Sleep is essential to your fitness and overall health. Ultimately, everyone will need differing amounts of sleep based upon their lifestyle and goals. A general rule of thumb is if you need to wake up to an alarm, you’re not sleeping long enough – your goal should be to wake up naturally every morning.