Sleep & Muscle Growth!

Sleep plays a role in protein synthesis, the release of GH and gives you the necessary energy needed for another day in the gym.

Probably the most important part of the recovery cycle is sleep. But how many of you get enough sleep?

Work, parties, and homework/studying try to attack your sleep patterns. A way to tackle this problem is time management, but that is not the subject of this article. Nonetheless, recovery, which is the period during which muscle growth occurs, will not take place without enough sleep.


First, what does rest mean? Rest is the period in between workouts that includes low energy loss activities. Each body part requires a different number of days to recover. Hypothetically speaking, every time you workout, you should be stronger than the previous time, given you have allowed yourself enough rest.

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It may appear that your muscles have grown during a workout. That pumped feeling is just rushing blood and stretched muscle fibers. So, how much rest should one get? That answer is totally up to the individual. So, where does sleep equate with the phenomenon of rest?


The number one reason sleep is important is because Growth Hormone (HGH) rises during deep sleep, which often begins about 30-45 minutes after falling asleep.

What Is HGH?
HGH stands for Human Growth Hormone (also known as Somatotropin), an amino acid produced in the pituitary gland of the brain. HGH plays an important role in human development by affecting skeletal growth.

HGH levels are high during childhood, and peak at adolescence. During puberty, HGH levels determine height and bone size. After puberty, HGH levels start to decline, and by age 61 decrease to 20% of what they were at age 21. HGH is continually produced throughout the human lifecycle, and continues to regulate the body's metabolism.

The amount of sleep is also another individualistic temperament. Generally, 6 to 12 hours of sleep are sufficient. As long as you feel rested the next day, then your accomplishments in the sack have paid off (no pun intended).

I once read that if you had enough sleep, you should not need an alarm clock to wake up. Also, there's a possible sleep myth out there that if you get more hours of sleep before midnight, your sleep will be more fulfilling - something worth trying out, at least. But what can be done if your alarm clock is annoying the $#*@ out of you?

Tips To Try

If you had a bad nights sleep, make it up the next time. If you absolutely need to stay up late, take naps during the day. Some of the best bodybuilders in the world take naps, so it's not corny. Twenty minutes of nap time is, as heard from some source, equivalent to 2 hours of sleep.

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Do not drink caffeine or water before bed. If you must drink something, have a glass of warm milk. There is a chemical in milk, that if activated by heat, causes the body to become soporific. Water will make you go to the bathroom and drinking caffeine before bed is self explanatory.

Speaking of water, a warm shower will also aid in your quest to achieve the best sleep possible.

Probably my favorite supplement is ZMA. After taking one ZMA before bed, I wake up, regardless of the number of hours I slept, feeling refreshed and recharged. Claiming to increase testosterone, this supplement is a must in any male bodybuilder's arsenal.

A note of caution: thermogenics are not going to help your sleep process. If you are taking thermogenics, it is best to take them early in the morning.

4 Stages Of Sleep

Sleep can be broken down into 4 stages - First Stage, Second Stage, Third Stage, and Fourth Stage. The 3rd and 4th stages are the most important stages during sleep because they pertain to physical activity. The stages are "completed" with relation to time in sleep.

For instance, say a person slept for an hour, they probably would have only reached stage 1. Getting more uninterupted sleep is key to reaching stages 3 and 4.

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Furthermore, during slumber the brain enters rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, so called because the eyes dart back and forth under the lids. During REM sleep, the brain resets chemicals in the emotional centers and clears short-term memory banks, where the day's events are stored temporarily. Without enough REM sleep, people become cranky and depressed; their memory and judgment are impaired; and they perform poorly on tests of reaction time (US News & World Report).

An interesting study found that sleep deprivation caused the body to lose the hormone leptin. "Leptin tells the body when it should feel full; when leptin levels drop, the body craves carbohydrates. That's what happened after a week of sleep deprivation, Van Cauter found.

"With the low leptin levels of sleep debt, your body will crave carbohydrates even though you've had enough calories," she says (US News & World Report).


With all this information, the importance of sleep should not be overlooked! Sleep plays a role in protein synthesis, the release of GH, and gives you the necessary energy needed for another day in the gym. Although it may be hard to find time during the week to get enough sleep, make it up on the weekends.

Follow the above tips and tricks for getting your Z's and you should be on the road to recovery, which eventually intersects with Muscle Growth Street!

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 Comments

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  • rep this user

Good article, very informative. Only reason I didn't give it 10/10 is there is a big gap between 6 and 12 hours of sleep. Would be good to see some sources as well.

Oct 2, 2012 1:27am | report
  • rep this user

great article sleep is so important!!

Jun 12, 2013 10:47pm | report
  • rep this user

so napping after it is good beacuse i hear make you fat... is you have carb food generally

Aug 5, 2014 3:04am | report
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 Comments

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