Eating well? Training hard? Not making the gains you want? Have you ever thought that maybe sleep could be the answer? It might sound simple. Too simple that you wouldn’t even think about it. But getting enough sleep every night might be the answer to all your muscle building prayers!
For many of us, getting enough sleep at night can be difficult, to say the least. You’d rather be spending your time training or meal prepping right? But what if i told you that all that time in the gym could be wasted if you aren’t sleeping enough…worried?
When we train, we tear the muscle fibres which will enhance muscle growth, with recovery, that is. The perfect time that our muscles recover is when we sleep. Growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis happens. Growth hormone mainly rises when we are asleep, particularly if we are heading off earlier and getting to bed at 10pm.
Throughout your sleep, the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin are produced. Leptin suppresses appetite and Ghrelin promotes the feeling of hunger. Throughout your sleep the levels of both these hormones rise, but towards the end of your sleep, the level of Ghrelin will decrease. So cutting your sleep short could boost your hunger levels…and not for the right sort of foods either!
Getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night enhances alertness, mental awareness and ultimately your gym performance. When you haven’t had enough sleep for the body to recover, your energy is going to be lowered, meaning your sessions in the gym are going to be jeopardised as you will feel less motivated.
Cortisol is a stress hormone the body creates when under high intensities. When we have not had enough sleep the cortisol in the body is increased. Now it’s normal for your body to increase the cortisol level post workout, but when it’s due to lack of sleep its going to affect the gainssss! If this happens on a regular occurrence the body can not repair the muscles. Increase of cortisol not only raises appetite, but slows the fat burning process down and reduces protein synthesis. Now this isn’t going to help anyone who is trying to get lean or gain size!
So try and get that little extra sleep every night. Avoid the coffee, high sugary snacks and fatty meals before going to bed, maybe stick with a light protein yoghurt which, in fact, can help with protein synthesis! Ensure you are having enough sleep every night and rest days during the week! It’s little things like sleep and rest which you wouldn’t realise has such an effect on your body and it’s composition.
If you have any questions or comments, as always, i’d love to hear from you!