Strength Training | General Health and Wellness | Muscle Recovery
6 Ways To Get Better Sleep For Muscle Recovery
The importance of sleep is not a new concept. Its importance, in fact, has been written about and talked about for over 100 years. As our health improves we become better athletes and as athletes get better; we can train more consistently and intensely which will ultimately lead to better results.
What's so important about sleep? Well, first of all, it's essential for muscle recovery; without adequate rest and proper nutrition, you can train all day long but won't make any gains. It's important for muscle growth and recovery.
It's no secret that sleep is critical in training and overall health, but it can be hard to know how much sleep you need and when. In this post, we'll be talking about the importance of s
leep and how much you should be getting. In addition, we'll also be going over why sleep is critical for muscle growth and recovery.
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
This question has been asked and answered for decades. There are still conflicting opinions on how much sleep you need each night. The National Sleep Foundation has given guidance for the optimal amount of hours to sleep in a night. Generally, most adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of restful sleep a night.
Shooting for 7-9 hours of sleep each night is a great goal to have, but your personal sleep needs may be different based on your lifestyle. Some might need more or less. For example: if you're training multiple times a day and working long hours outside of the gym then you may require more rest.
Why Sleep is Important for Muscle Recovery
We all know that sleep is important, but how important is it really for our muscles' recovery? Well, the importance of sleep is so critical, in fact, that it has a direct effect on the most important part of muscle recovery: insulin. Insulin's role is to shuttle amino acids into cells to be used for protein synthesis and storage.
An article written by Dr. Portman mentions, "that it's not growth hormone or some mystery anabolic agent. I am talking about insulin, the body's ultimate recovery mediator."
You also release more growth hormone (GH) during sleep than you do at any other time. GH is a vital part of muscle repair, so if your sleep is disturbed the amount of GH released while you're sleeping drops significantly.
Researchers have suggested that reductions in sleep duration may inhibit muscle growth and recovery and lead to a catabolic environment. Catabolic environment means that your body is breaking down or losing overall mass.
Sleep Deprivation and Muscle Recovery
Not getting enough sleep will backfire on you since it will make your body more catabolic and will also delay muscle growth, especially if you're using a high-intensity training style such as lifting heavyweights.
Your body will produce less protein than it otherwise would. That's why you need to sleep for at least 7 hours a night if you want your muscles to grow properly and quickly.
Not getting a lot of sleep decreases the activity of protein synthesis pathways and increases the activity of degradation pathways, which favors muscle loss. This hinders recovery after muscle damage induced by exercise, injuries, or certain conditions associated with muscle breakdown.
6 Ways To Get Better Sleep
If you're not getting enough sleep, we've created a list of things you can do to improve your ability to fall and remain asleep.
1. Turn Off Everything
Make sure your sleeping environment is dark, quiet, and cool. Remove electronics from the bedroom.
2. Go To Sleep Earlier
Get a full night's sleep. If you're only getting five or six hours of sleep each night, try to get more by going to bed earlier and setting an alarm to wake up at the same time every morning. Consistency is key!
3. Turn Your Phones Off
Avoid using electronics at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Electronics emit a type of light that can disrupt the natural rhythm of your body, and sleep experts suggest using electronics as little as possible in general.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a good way to get your body into sleep mode so that you can fall asleep easier at night.
5. Drink a Cup of Herbal Tea Before Bed
Green tea and chamomile are both good choices for relaxing you enough to get some sleep but not so much that they will keep you up all night.
6. Don't Consume Caffeine Too Late
Caffeine is a stimulant, and it can be tough to get to sleep when your body thinks it's supposed to be awake. So try and avoid caffeine after lunch!
You may not be getting enough sleep, and that's why you're struggling to build muscle. Sleep is crucial for recovering from workouts and if you aren't sleeping well then your muscles can't repair themselves properly after a hard workout.
Sleep helps muscles release protein-building amino acids into the bloodstream at an increased rate which helps them grow bigger and stronger over time.
Sleep helps to release growth hormones during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which helps with muscle repair.
You also release several healing substances while you sleep that keep your muscles healthy.
Yang, Deng-Fa et al. “Sleep deprivation reduces the recovery of muscle injury induced by high-intensity exercise in a mouse model.” Life sciences vol. 235 (2019): 116835. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2019.116835
Watson, Nathaniel F et al. “Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society.” Sleepvol. 38,6 843-4. 1 Jun. 2015, doi:10.5665/sleep.4716
Dattilo, M et al. “Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis.” Medical hypotheses vol. 77,2 (2011): 220-2. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2011.04.017