Sleep 101: Importance, Effects & Steps To Maximize Its Anabolic Potential!

Training recovery is of the utmost importance and sleep is by far the most important training recovery factor. Learn more about what sleep is, why it’s important, tips on how to maximize the anabolic potential of sleep and more right here!

Article Summary:
  • Your sleeping patterns are regulated by your biological clock.
  • REM sleep is characterized by rapid back-and-forth eyeball movement.
  • Sleep deprivation puts you at risk of overtraining.
  • Although resistance training is effective as a means to elicit meaningful and beneficial body composition changes - i.e. muscle growth and fat loss - resistance training is also extremely stressful. Training recovery, therefore, is of the utmost importance and sleep is by far the most important training recovery factor. It's a fact: you need rest to recover and grow.

    Unfortunately, sleep is a rare commodity, and many bodybuilders don't get enough of it. Sometimes busy schedules get in the way, and other times sleep isn't made a priority. This is a mistake because neglecting sleep will bring your results to a grinding halt.

    In this article we'll examine:

    1. What Is Sleep
    2. The Importance Of Sleep
    3. The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation
    4. How To Maximize The Anabolic Potential Of Sleep

    At the end of this article you'll know what sleep is, how it works, why it's important and how to best maximize the anabolic potential of sleep for greater muscle growth.

    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Sleep Is By Far The Most Important
    Training Recovery Factor.

    Sleep 101

    Your sleeping patterns are regulated by your biological clock that runs on a 25 hour clock, according to the daylight cycle.

    In the morning hours, when light levels rise, your body increases the output of chemicals like adrenaline and dopamine while simultaneously decreasing sleep inducing chemicals. This allows you to awaken and to become alert.

    Adrenaline & Dopamine:
    Adrenaline is a hormone and neurotransmitter. It is a catecholamine, a sympathomimetic monoamine derived from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine.

    Dopamine is a neurotransmitter occurring in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the brain, this phenethylamine functions as a neurotransmitter, activating the five types of dopamine receptors ??" D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5, and their variants.

    In the evening hours, when light levels decrease, your body increases the output of chemicals like serotonin, melatonin and GABA while simultaneously decreasing alert inducing chemicals. This allows you to relax and prepare for sleep.

    Serotonin, Melatonin & GABA:
    Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter synthesized in serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) and enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract

    Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone. Circulating levels vary in a daily cycle, and melatonin is important in the regulation of the circadian rhythms of several biological functions.

    Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. It plays an important role in regulating neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.

    Sleeping is a series of events that are divided into five distinct stages:

    dot Stage 1 Sleep: dot

      Stage 1 sleep is characterized by drowsiness, a slowing of brain activity and a closing of the eyes. This stage of sleep is the stage from which you're most easily disturbed.

    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    This Is The Stage Of Sleep In
    Which You're Most Easily Disturbed.

    dot Stage 2 Sleep: dot

      Stage 2 sleep is characterized by an further slowing of brain activity and increased muscle relaxation. In stage 2 sleep, the heart also slows and body temperature decreases. Also, the skeletal muscle system begins shutting down to prepare for deep sleep.


    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    Discoveries About Sleep!
    It has been reported that as much as 60% of the US population suffers from some sort of sleeplessness. The study tells us why.
    Critical Health

    dot Stages 3 & 4 Sleep: dot

      Stages 3 and 4 sleep are characterized by further brain activity reductions, complete skeletal muscle paralysis, loss of environmental awareness and slowed metabolic function.

      Stage 3 sleep transitions into stage 4 sleep - the deepest of all sleep states and the most difficult stage from which to awaken. Stage 4 sleep is the most beneficial sleep stage because growth hormone levels peak at this time.

    dot REM Sleep: dot

      REM Sleep - Rapid Eye Movement Sleep - is sometimes called stage 5 sleep, and it's characterized by rapid back-and-forth eyeball movement and vivid dreams. In this stage of sleep, the heart beat increases, blood pressure rises and breathing becomes more rapid.

      Over the course of a night, we go in and out of the various sleep stages. The following picture illustrates sleep stage shifting:

    REM Sleep
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    The Various Sleep Stages.

      As you can see, we shift in and out of various sleep stages throughout the night, and REM sleep is incorporated throughout the night into the various sleep stages.

    The Importance Of Sleep:
    Anabolism And More


    Now that the science is over with, let's get to the good stuff: what sleep can do for your overall health and your muscle building.

    Sleep dramatically impacts your entire body, and it's during sleep that your body recovers from exercise, repairs itself and grows new muscle tissue. Your body maximizes its output of growth hormone during sleep, and it is for this reason that sleep is anabolic.

    At the same time, sleeping also replenishes critical neurotransmitters (specialized chemicals) that you need to bodybuild effectively and safely. These neurotransmitters include dopamine, adrenalin, noradrenalin, acetylcholine and more.

    Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are used to relay, amplify and modulate signals between a neuron and another cell. Neurotransmitters are packaged into vesicles that cluster beneath the membrane on the presynaptic side of a synapse, and released into the synaptic cleft, where they bind to receptors located in the membrane on the postsynaptic side of the synapse.

    These chemicals are responsible for focus, attention, motivation, overall energy levels and muscular contractions. These chemicals are depleted by hard training and everyday activities. Only sleeping allows your body to repair itself and replenish the chemicals that are needed for you to get best results.


    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    Insomnia: How To Get A Great Night Of Sleep!
    Time flies at night when you're trying to recover for the next day when all of a sudden your alarm clock goes off. It's frustrating.

    At the same time, sleeping is important for your immune system, for your mental health and for the millions of biochemical processes that occur in your body every day. If you don't get enough sleep your body will not function optimally, your health will decline, and your results will suffer.

    arrow View Immune System Products Sorted By Top Seller Here.

    Consequences Of Sleep Deprivation

    Sleep deprivation - not getting enough sleep - is the single best way to destroy your health and to cause muscle wasting. Sleep deprivation has been linked to many health problems including depression, reduced immunity to diseases and heart problems.

    When it comes to building muscle, sleep deprivation is especially destructive because depriving our body of the sleep that it needs reduces the amount of recovery time provided for repair and growth.

    How Many Hours Of Sleep Do You Get?

    Less Than 3
    10 Or More

    As a result, failing to get enough sleep can trigger rises in system-wide inflammation, increases in cortisol levels, catabolism onset, muscle wasting and an increase in body fat. At the same time, failing to get enough sleep will reduce anabolic hormone levels and disrupt the normal functioning of your body.

    The fact is: sleep deprivation magnifies the stressful impact of exercise upon your body and puts you at risk for overtraining. But there is another consequence of sleep deprivation: increased risk of injury.

    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    When It Comes To Building Muscle, Sleep
    Deprivation Is Especially Destructive.

    Failed to get enough sleep will dramatically affect your attention span and your ability to pay attention in the gym. And, a reduced attention span will put you at risk for injuries because you will be less likely to pay attention to strict form and, you will be more likely to get injured because of carelessness - i.e. dropping weights, etc.

    Maximize The Anabolic Potential Of Sleep

    Maximizing the anabolic potential of sleep is best accomplished by:

    1. Manipulating Your Sleep Environment
    2. Using Effective Supplements

    When attempting to maximize the anabolic potential of sleep, the goal is to maximize the quality and quantity of sleep - in that order.


    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    Build Greater Lean
    Mass With Sleep!

    If you want to maximize gains, you must sleep at least 8 hours every night. Learn more from my experiment of sleep.
    Joseph Amici

    Sleep quality is more important than sleep quantity - as anyone who has suffered from broken sleep can attest. You must sleep deeply to maximize the anabolic potential of sleep.

    dot Environment: dot

      Your sleeping environment has a great impact on your ability to fall asleep and to stay asleep. It's not easy for many people to fall asleep because we are surrounded by more lights and more noise than in times past.

      While it is almost impossible to fall asleep in a perfectly quiet and perfectly dark environment, it is important to try to achieve as close to this ideal situation as possible.

      As already discussed, the sleeping cycle operates according to the daylight cycle. In the mornings when light levels increase, you awaken. In the evenings when daylight levels decrease, you begin to relax. This is due, primarily to the chemical melatonin.

    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    The Melatonin Chemical.

      Scientific research shows that melatonin facilitates sleep onset, and that light suppresses melatonin secretion in humans. 1 In other words: if the light levels in your sleep environment are too high, your sleep hormone levels will be suppressed - making it more difficult to fall asleep.

      Sound - noise - also affects your ability to fall and stay asleep, because even though you may fall asleep, your brain can still process sound while you are sleeping, possibly waking you up in the middle of the night in your deepest and most anabolic sleep stage.

      Therefore, do your best to eliminate light and noise from your immediate sleep environment. Doing so will help you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep until morning.


    Supplementation plays a huge role in maximizing the anabolic potential of sleep. Some supplements help you to fall asleep more easily, and others maximize the anabolic potential of sleep while you are sleeping.

    Cycling Sleep Supplements!
    [ Click To Join The Thread. ]
    Cycling Sleep Supps!
    The last three months or so, I've been taking 1.5-3 grams of melatonin every day. Sometimes I'll throw in some GABA, theanine, valerian or Phenibut, as well.
    Started By:

    dot Getting-To-Sleep Supplements: dot

      Here are some of the best getting-to-sleep supplements:

      1. ZMA
      2. Melatonin
      3. GABA


        ZMA is a supplement made from zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. While this supplement can boost testosterone levels if you're zinc deficient, its real value is in that it induces sleep and produces vivid dreams. It also helps you stay asleep so you awaken refreshed.

        arrow View ZMA Products Sorted By Top Seller Here.


        Melatonin is a chemical that's secreted from your pineal gland and it helps you relax and sleep. Supplemental melatonin works very quickly 2, and research shows that melatonin is effective at helping to reset the biological clock that regulates sleep patterns. 3

    The Pineal Gland
    The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain. It produces melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and photoperiodic (seasonal) functions.

    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    The Penial Gland.

        arrow View Melatonin Products Sorted By Top Seller Here.


        GABA - Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid - is a special brain chemical that rises prior to sleeping. GABA is important because it not only facilitates sleep onset, but it also stimulates growth hormone secretions during stage 4 sleep. 4

        arrow View GABA Products Sorted By Top Seller Here.

    dot Supplements To Maximize The Anabolic Potential Of Sleep: dot

      Here are some of the best supplements to maximize the anabolic potential of sleep:

      1. Glutamine
      2. BCAA's
      3. Protein Powder Blend
      4. Specialized Enzymes


        Glutamine is an amino acid that prevents catabolism, promotes optimum growth hormone release and supports a strong immune system.

        During sleeping periods, muscle wasting can occur due to amino acid shortage, and this can result in increased cortisol secretions and inflammation. Glutamine helps maintain a positive nitrogen balance and helps to promote repair.

        arrow View Glutamine Products Sorted By Top Seller Here.


        BCAA's - Branched Chain Amino Acids - have proven anabolic properties and increase testosterone and growth hormone levels. 5

        BCAA's can also help to blunt the rise in cortisol levels during sleep, helping to prevent catabolism and promote maximum anabolism.

        arrow View BCAA Products Sorted By Top Seller Here.

      Protein Powder Blends:

        Protein Powder Blends are especially beneficial taken prior to sleep because multiple protein types release amino acids at different rates, providing excellent amino acid coverage throughout the night and preventing catabolism resulting from amino acid shortage.

        Protein powder blends help ensure a positive nitrogen balance and help spare muscle tissue from wasting.

        arrow View Protein Powders Sorted By Top Seller Here.

      Specialized Enzymes:

        Specialized Enzymes are a new and long overdue supplementation trend. Specialize enzymes are effective at maximizing the anabolic potential of sleep because enzymes help mediate the inflammation process. Specialized protease and sitosterol enzyme blends are clinically proven to reduce inflammation by up to 63%! 6

    Protease & Sitosterol:
    A protease is any enzyme that conducts proteolysis, that is, begins protein catabolism by hydrolysis of the peptide bonds that link amino acids together in the polypeptide chain.

    Sitosterol is one of several phytosterols with chemical structures similar to that of cholesterol. It is white in colour and waxy in nature.

        By mediating inflammation and blunting catabolism, specialized enzymes aide in recovery and help maximize anabolism and muscle growth during sleeping periods.

        arrow View Specialized Enzymes Sorted By Top Seller Here.

    Pre-Sleep Tips

    Your pre-sleep behaviors dramatically affect your ability to fall and stay asleep. Follow these pre-sleep tips to help maximize the anabolic potential of sleep:

    1. Establish a regular sleeping pattern by going to bed at the same time.
    2. Reduce your physical activity two hours prior to sleeping.
    3. Avoid alcohol and/or coffee for several hours before going to bed.
    4. Skip large meals before bed.

    Final Thoughts

    Sleep is vitally important for muscle growth. The sleeping period is the most important period of recovery and muscle growth and can, potentially, be the most anabolic period of the day. But the catch is this: sleep can also be highly catabolic.

    Maximizing the anabolic potential of sleep is best achieved by manipulating the sleep environment and using time-tested supplements that act to facilitate sleep onset, help maintain sleep throughout the night and maximize anabolic conditions during this time of rest and repair.

    Scientific References:

    1. Lewy AJ, Wehr TA, Goodwin FK, Newsome DA, Markey SP. Light suppresses melatonin secretion in humans. Science. 1980 Dec 12;210(4475):1267-9.
    2. Hughes RJ, Sack RL, Lewy AJ. The role of melatonin and circadian phase in age-related sleep maintenance insomnia: assessment in a clinical trial of melatonin replacement. Sleep 1998;21:52-68.
    3. Petrie K, Dawson AG, Thompson L, et al. A double-blind trial of melatonin as a treatment for jet lag in international cabin crew. Biol Psychiatry 1993;33:526-30.
    4. Cavagnini F, et al. Effect of acute and repeated administration of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) on growth hormone and prolactin secretion in man. Acta Endocrinol (Copenh). 1980 Feb;93(2):149-54.
    5. Carli G, et al. changes in the exercise-induced hormone response to branched chain amino acid administration. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol, 1992;64(3):272-7.
    6. Miller et. Al. The effects of protease supplementation on skeletal muscle function and D.O.M.S. following downhill running. Journal of Sports Sciences 22, 365-372;2004.