What does a good night's rest have to do with muscle growth? For years we assumed that muscle growth is purely a contribution of exercise and a special diet. Never have we considered the vital role sleep plays, as most people don't even know that sleep and muscle growth are like toffee and apples; they just fit well together.
The Effects Sleep Has on Muscle Growth
It has been proven that sleep and nutrition help the body repair, strengthen, and grow muscle tissue after a day of training. When we sleep, our bodies go into a higher anabolic state, and during this time, our bodies repair and rejuvenate bodily tissue, including muscle tissue. Sleep also improves our immune and nervous systems.
How Many Hours Should We Sleep?
Sleep is essential for everyone, and it's crucial for people who are exercising, doing strength training, or bodybuilding. While we sleep, our bodies produce protein metabolism faster than when we're awake.
On days when you train, you should aim to get between 8 to 10 hours of sleep so that your body is well-rested and has enough time to recover. If you get less than 8 hours of sleep, you won't have enough time to rest and reset your body. The same goes for too much sleep. If you get more than 10 hours of sleep, you risk resetting your body's natural clock.
Factors That Contribute to Good sleep
According to Healthy Sleep, a Harvard Medical School article, to get the best out of your sleep, you can:
- Make sure the room is very dark, as light can trick the brain into believing that it's time to wake up.
- Remove any objects that can invoke stress.
- Make sure there is no unnecessary noise or sounds unless you use a white noise machine or enjoy listening to nature sounds to relax your body and mind.
- Adjust your room temperature; it shouldn't be too cold, as cold temperatures disrupt REM sleep. It should also not be too hot, as your body temperature will rise and disrupt sleep completely.
- Get the right mattress, as a comfortable mattress can improve posture and allow for the rest your muscles need. Have a look at the best mattress for stomach sleepers suggested by Shape.
The Downfalls of Not Getting Enough Sleep
So far, we discussed the benefits of a good night's sleep and its impact on muscle growth, but what about the downfalls of not getting enough sleep? What impact does that have on your body and health?
Lack of sleep can lead to overeating, as your body won't produce enough of the hormone that tells your body that it's full.
Your body won't produce enough muscle-building hormones. As mentioned earlier, muscle-building (growth) hormones are produced while we sleep.
Decreased muscle coordination - as sleep helps to consolidate memory, it can help increase accuracy, reaction time and speed, and improve overall performance.
Tissue growth and repairs won't occur as they should. Sleep helps boost your body's muscle mass and repair cells during your sleep.
You might fall ill quicker and more frequently. Sleep helps your body produce cytokines, which are molecules used to boost your immune system and can help your body fight disease and infections.
Decrease in cognitive performance and an increase in exhaustion.
Final Thoughts on Sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in our general health, significantly when growing and building muscles. Lack of sleep can harm your physical and mental health. Consider the factors mentioned above and invest in an excellent mattress to boost muscle growth.