Why Sufficient Sleep Is Necessary For Muscle Growth

While sleep requirements differ slightly from person to person, most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function their best. Children and teens need even more. Sleep needs decrease through age, most of the older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep. And for muscle growth, it goes the same – 7 to 9 hours of sleep is optimal.

During sleep, protein synthesis (provided protein is consumed prior to sleep) occurs and growth hormone is produced. These are only two beneficial aspects of sleep. Energy consumption reduction and brain cell restoration are two different aspects equally important for bodybuilders.

Sleep serves many victual functions. Main functions for bodybuilders are growth and mental alertness. Sleep provides these effects directly. Without adequate sleep, the time spent in gym could be time wasted.

Sleeping for 8 to 10 hours per night is similar to fasting and this is catabolic to muscle growth. However, eating just prior to sleep can help to reverse this process and increase protein synthesis. Protein synthesis occurs under sleeping conditions but it occurs in the gastrointestinal (stomach or intestines) tract, not the muscles. Muscles actually break down under sleep conditions to provide our stomach with basic amino acids during the time of starvation. Eating before bed is crucial in offsetting this. Some reports suggest that waking up in the middle of the night to eat is Nocturnal Eating.

Human growth hormone is released under sleep condition. In men, 60% to 70% of human growth hormone secretion occurs during early sleeping stages which are typically when the deepest sleep cycles occur. Poor quality sleep can have a negative impact on human growth hormone levels. Research suggests that it’s during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleeping when the body is able to restore bones, organs, and tissue; circulate human growth hormone and replenish immune cells. Sleep has a profound effect on physical well being and muscle growth.

During sleep, energy consumption is lowered. Lowered energy consumption is resource conservation for the biological mechanism. We would need many meals per day (rather than the normal 4-6 for bodybuilders) if we do not get enough sleep.

With bodybuilders, the name of their game is by increased size, so energy conservation out of the gym is more important. Several meals throughout the day also help growth, and sleep makes sure that the food is used to replace energy and rebuild muscle (Pre-sleep meals intensify this effect).

Sleep recharges your brain. It is believed that sleep is a time for the body to balance and repair itself. Still, the body also does this while awake and during deep sleep, the body releases most of its growth hormone. Improve your memory with a Good Night’s Sleep. Sleep actually triggers changes in the brain that improves memory strengthening connections between brain cells and transferring information from the brain to another region.

REM and Non-REM Sleep

The brain follows cycles during sleep, which last for 90 and 100 minutes each. There are two different types of sleep cycles. They are REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM sleep. A sleep cycle starts with 4 stages of non-REM sleep before they reverse and REM sleep is started. Most of the people experience around 4 or 5 of these cycles every night.

Knowing about these stages is very important for bodybuilders as the stages typically follow a set pattern and require adequate recovery (Get a good night’s sleep to grow). Everybody experiences all these stages each night.

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