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Importance of Sleep for Muscle Growth

Summary: Hitting the hay is not only essential for muscle recovery, but also for proper muscle growth. During sleep, your body produces growth hormones and synthesizes proteins to repair and build muscle tissue. Catching precious sleep is equally important for muscle gain as is a proper diet and training routine.

You probably knew that sleep was necessary for muscle recovery, but did you know that snoozing is also vital for muscle gain? Many fitness enthusiasts don’t realize it, but sleep and muscle growth actually go hand in hand. When fitness enthusiasts think about building muscle, most of them are thinking about spending hours in the gym. The next thing they think about is proper diet and nutrition. Most people overlook sleep and don’t consider it at all. However, without rest, you can never build muscle properly.

Find out how sleep affects muscle growth.

How Sleep Affects Muscle Growth?

When you are working out, your muscles are not building, but actually tearing apart on a cellular level. When those tears repair and strengthen, the muscle tissue grows bigger. Therefore, muscles grow not when you exercise, but when you rest.

When you are catching some naps, your body is in a higher anabolic state and starts using your sleep time to repair and rejuvenate all the tissue in your body, including your muscles. During sleep, your body constructs larger molecules that are used to repair various parts of your body, such as your muscular, immune and nervous system.

How Much Sleep Do You Need for Muscle Gain?

During sleep, protein metabolism is much faster than in the state of wakefulness. Therefore, getting the right amount of sleep every night is essential for proper muscle growth and recovery. Rest is particularly vital if you prefer weight lifting and strength training. The optimum amount of sleep for muscle recovery and growth is between 8 to 10 hours per night. Sleeping longer is not recommended because it may disrupt your internal body clock and make it difficult to fall asleep on time the following night. In order to gain muscles properly during sleep, it is vital to work on your sleeping habits and improve your sleep hygiene. To get started, check out counting sheep better sleep guide.

The Effects of Sleep on Muscle Growth

Regular sleep is required in order to allow your body to complete the necessary cycles of repair and recovery that results in healthy and natural muscle growth.

When you hit the hay, your body produces growth hormones, testosterone, and melatonin. The two hormones and the neurotransmitter melatonin play a vital role in the reproduction and regeneration of cells in your body. Simply explained, without sleep, your body can’t restore the damage done to your muscles during training properly.

Synthesizing Muscle Tissue

After nutrient absorption, your body will start synthesizing proteins to repair and build muscle tissue. For muscle gain, your body must synthesize proteins much faster than they are breaking down in the muscle. Sleep is the most extended period your body has to synthesize proteins and use up all the nutrients you have absorbed during the day. In the state of wakefulness, proteins in the muscle start breaking down much faster and exceed protein synthesis.

Amino Acids Inhibit Protein Breakdown

It is possible to inhibit protein breakdown by raising the level of amino acids in your body. To inhibit protein breakdown, amino acid levels should be raised around 25-50% above fasting baseline. Drinking casein or whey protein before bed can inhibit the breakdown of proteins while you sleep. Casein protein can inhibit protein breakdown for up to 6 hours, while the effects of whey proteins last significantly shorter.


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