Building Muscles in Your Sleep
You work hard to make the most of your gym time.
From the moment you walk through the doors, you’re pumped and ready to go. You’ve fueled up on muscle-building foods, you’ve brought all the right gear, and you’ve mastered your routine so you know exactly how much weight to lift to get the best results possible.
However, what you do outside of the gym can have a huge impact on what you do inside the gym. Your downtime is just as important to building muscles as hitting the machines and pumping out those reps.
If you want to make maximize your fat-burning, muscle-ripping results in the shortest time possible, then you might want to start by grabbing a nearby pillow and catching a few extra Zzz’s.
What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Although it may seem counterintuitive to think that you can build muscle by simply doing nothing, getting a good night’s sleep is imperative for maximizing your muscle gain. At night, your body will be hard at work strengthening your muscle fibers, secreting muscle-building hormones, and supercharging your metabolism for your next gym session, and in fact, nearly 40% of your muscle growth occurs when you’re asleep.
On the other hand, if you neglect this essential phase of your muscle-building regimen, then you’ll be sabotaging your efforts to sculpt leaner, stronger muscles. Need a little more persuasion? Just take a look a few of the problems associated with sleep deprivation and the impact it can have on your body.
1. Workout Recovery Time Will Be Interrupted: Intense exercise can create microscopic tears in the muscle, causing muscle soreness and fatigue. How hard you work and how long you exercise in the gym will determine the extent of the tearing.
Typically speaking, white blood cells will repair the damaged muscle fibers within 12 to 24 hours after exercise, making your muscles more resilient than ever so you can be better prepared for your next workout session.
Your sleeping phase is the opportune time for your body to heal and repair itself, but if you’re not getting enough sleep each night, you’ll interrupt that healing process.
2. Hormone Secretion Will Be Compromised: Your hormones play a huge role in how your body will react to exercise and weight loss. Testosterone, for example, is essential for gaining muscle, strength and endurance, while HGH (Human Growth Hormone) can influence your metabolism and energy levels.
And when’s the best time to secrete these hormones?
You guessed it – during sleep. If you’re not getting at least 8 hours of high-quality sleep each night, your hormones are going to suffer for it, and you may even experience an increase in the hormone cortisol, a stress-released hormone that can cause the storage of fat and a decrease in muscle mass.
3. Physical and Mental Performance Will Decline: One of the biggest issues associated with sleep deprivation is chronic fatigue and lack of motivation. Feeling tired, groggy, and irritable is your body’s way of telling you it’s in distress, and pushing through it could increase your risk of injury.
Let’s face it: without sleep, your reflexes won’t be as sharp and your muscles won’t be as strong.
Bump Up Your Protein Before Bed
Before you hit the sack a little early tonight, keep in mind there’s more to building muscles in your sleep than simply catching some shut-eye.
In order to build bigger, stronger muscles in your sleep, you need to make sure that your body has all the nutrients it needs to facilitate that growth. What you eat after your workout and before bed could make or break your performance.
According to Luc J.C. Van Loon, PhD and professor of Physiology at Maastricht University Medical Center, “We’ve previously established that muscle protein synthesis rates are quite low during overnight recovery as this might be attributed to the fact that there are not as many amino acids available during night.”
And in a study published in American Journal of Physiology, elderly men who consumed 35 grams of whey protein experienced greater muscle growth than the control group.
If you workout late and don’t have time for a full-meal before bed, try to slip in a protein snack or shake to give your muscles that extra boost they need.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of the time you spend outside of the gym, be sure to give your body the extra care it needs for building muscles by stocking up on the protein and getting plenty of rest between workouts.
Don’t know which protein supplement you should try before bed? You can read about the best protein supplements here and determine which product is right for you with the latest inside information and consumer reviews.