You can take all the recovery drinks and pills you want in an effort to get the best muscle recovery possible, but what doesnt get the attention it deserves (considering its the most important factor of recovery) is sleep. Sleep and muscle growth are like two peas in a pod and if neglected, which I am totally guilty of…then you are not going to see the true fruits of your labor!
Most people understand, or at least I hope they do, that muscle growth happens at rest and NOT during your workouts. During your workouts, you are actually breaking down the muscle tissue. Its at rest that your muscles have a chance to repair and grow back stronger than before. But before we get into exactly how sleep effects muscle growth, I think its important that we define “rest” in relation to working out.
REST is the period in between your workouts where you are doing low energy loss acitivites, with the lowest energy level loss being during sleep.
Wait…that didnt sound right! Anywho…muscle growth will not occur without enough sleep! So how much sleep is needed to maximize muscle growth? And the answer is probably not what you want to hear, but it depends on the person. Generally adults need between 6 and 12 hours of sleep per night. A good measure of whether or not you are getting enough sleep is by determining if you feel completely rested the next day. You gotta listen to your body!
Here is what professors from the University of Warwick and University College London found in their research on how much sleep is required for optimal health:
Professor Francesco Cappuccio said, “Short sleep has been shown to be a risk factor for weight gain, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, sometimes leading to mortality…In terms of prevention, our findings indicate that consistently sleeping around seven hours per night is optimal for health, and a sustained reduction may predispose to ill health.”
I like your questions! You should stick around and look into joining RIPPEDCLUB 🙂 But on a serious note – why is gaining muscle mass so greatly affected by sleep?
The #1 reason sleep is muscle recovery’s best good pal is because within the first 30-45 minutes of sleep, the body releases Growth Hormone (HGH) and actually rises during deep sleep. This is why you want solid uninterrupted sleep. HGH, produced by the pituitary gland, spurs growth in children and adolescents. It also helps to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function.
The more you allow this hormone to work by getting more uninterrupted sleep – you are going to increase your efficiency in muscle growth and repair. And really the guaranteed result is more ladies fainting at the sight of your extremely well developed musculature when you remove your shirt. Its a scientific fact!
Another major problem with not getting enough sleep that messes up all dem gaaaaaaaainz is friggin cortisol. Its like an angry mother-in-law hormone that works in the body to break down body tissue. Cortisol levels are heightened under times of stress which is a direct results of lack of sleep. So basically people who are sleep deprived increase their levels of coritsol throughout the day and as a results, that nasty business starts to break down body tissue – MUSCLE MASS!
Its evil stuff that cortisol, especially when muscle GROWTH is your primary objective.
This is the last part, but no less important than the previous. You cant overlook the direct correlation that connects sleep to your workout performance. When you are lacking in the sleep department, you are far less likely to be able to push yourself to the levels that you are capable of. As a result, you dont do as many reps, you dont put up as much weight, you dont last as long during that HIT workout…And your gains suffer.
Turn off he TV. Turn off the XBOX. Get serious about muscle growth if that truly is your goal and get some Z’s. It really is that simple. If you want to maximize your muscle gains, then sleep should be a primary priority. And I can hear people now, “but Coach Todd, you dont understand how busy I am!”, “Coach Todd, my job and my kids…”
Trust me, your priorities are displayed in your actions. In the past few months, I have gotten about 6 hours of sleep per night on average. I would like to tell you that sleep and muscle gains/recovery are a top priority of mine, but I am trying to build an online business so that I have the chance to help more people get results and create freedom for my family and I. My gains have taken a back seat to that priority. Get real with yourself and stop making excuses. If you ACTUALLY want to gain muscle, then sleep will be a top priority. PERIOD!
WHATEVER IT TAKES,