Often time’s bodybuilders underestimate the power of sleep. But if your goal is gain mass and size, a lack of sleep is detrimental for muscle growth.
To achieve success in bodybuilding, there are four factors that equally contribute to success; aerobic condition (cardiovascular endurance), anaerobic muscular strength (weight training), supplementation/ nutrition (the nutrients put into your body) and sleep (ability of your body to grow). Out of these four factors, the most overlooked and overrated factor is sleep. If your goal is gain mass and size, a lack of sleep is detrimental for muscle growth. This is due to the fact that while you sleep your body produces hormones that create hypertrophy(muscle growth). In short, it’s an anabolic state that dramatically increases the size and strength of your muscles through the release of hormones!
Recover & Grow!
Remember, we don’t grow in the gym; we create the demand for our body to grow. But we do grow outside of the gym with proper nutrition and sleep. Once you finish reading the information below, you will fully understand the importance of sleep, allowing you to get more mass and strength from your workouts!
The 5 Stages of Sleep
- The first stage occurs within the first 5 to 10 minutes. At this time, your body is very aware of your surroundings. At this stage your muscles aren’t in a paralysis state (muscle growth state).
- During the second stage, which occurs for about 20 minutes, your body temperature starts to drop. Along with your body temperature, your heart rate slowly drops in order to relax your muscles.
- At about 30 to 35 minutes into sleep, the third stage begins. During this stage, the effects of stage 2 (temperature and heart rate) continue to drop as your body releases into the most important stage, stage 4.
- This stage is the most important stage of all. At this time, HGH, Testosterone and other hormones are released. These hormones are considered anabolic hormones, which create more mass and strength. During this time, your nerve transmitters are also released. Nerve transmitters are responsible for focus, concentration, reaction time and muscle contraction.
- Stage 5 is the deepest form of sleep. At this time REM (rapid eye movement) exists; stage 5 is the only time REM occurs. During REM, scientists believe that your dreams are perceived at this stage.
Although there are so called “stages of sleep”, they do not particularly happen in the order that they appear. The order that these stages occur, are completely random and usually depend on the person.
TIPS TO GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP
These following tips will help you get the best sleep of your life. Not only will you feel well rested, but you will gain more mass than ever before.
- Keep your bedroom dark. Your bedroom should be dark because its important because as your eyes perceive darkness, your body naturally lowers your heart rate in order to calm your body before rest.
- Keep the temperature comfortable. As we sleep, our bodies naturally lower its temperature. So if you’re in a too hot or too cold environment, your body is trying to heat itself up or cool itself down during sleep and the sleep process will be delayed. Your muscle growth and strength will also be delayed. Therefore, in order to maximize hypertrophy, sleep in a neutral temperature environment.
- Limit the noise level. Similar to temperature, your body has to multi-task when noise is present during sleep.
- Do not perform activity 2-3 hours before going to bed. Although some scientist’s recommend this theory, I personally disagree. But I suggest trying it and you can be the judge.
- Make a sleep schedule. In order to fully achieve the benefits of proper sleep, it needs to be consistent every night. Try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day to maximize the benefits.
Not sleeping enough?
A lack of sleep can cause injury, higher cortisol levels, lower testosterone, and lack of nerve transmitters in our body. If you deprive yourself of sleep, it’s like trying to run a marathon blindly; you might run in the wrong direction. A lack of sleep is the fastest way to deprive your muscle and destroy your health; if you fall short, you might as well miss your workout. During sleep, the greatest amounts of hormones are released. If you neglect it, here’s what can happen:
- Muscle Loss– With a lack of sleep, the anti-stress hormone; cortisol, gets released causing catabolism (muscle break down).
- Inflammation– Without rest, your entire body begins an inflammation process in order to slow functions down, such as nutrient absorption and muscle growth.
- Fat Increase– The longer you stay awake, the faster your glucose levels get impaired. This is because in order to keep your brain and body awake, glucose levels are depleted. Causing you to crave carbohydrates. Also, the buildup of cortisol levels increases the storage of fat.
How much sleep should you get?
In order to achieve sufficient sleep, studies show recommended amounts with varying age groups. However, sleeping more than the recommended amount, is as detrimental as sleeping to little. Here are the proven amounts necessary per age group to achieve the full benefits.
- Infants – 16 hours
- Teenagers -9 hours
- Adults-7 to 8 hours
Supplements to help
- ZMA(Zinc Magnesium Aspartate) – A popular supplement before bed is called ZMA’s. This supplement helps increase testosterone release during the night and also blocks the release of the catabolic hormone cortisol.
Recommended ZMA Supplement
- Amino Acids – As you know, you build muscle during sleep. But where does this muscle come from? Thin air? You amino acids in order to build new muscle, a few options can be taking a direct Amino Acid supplement or taking protein powder before sleep. Protein Powder naturally carries Amino Acids.
Recommended Amino Acid Supplement
- GABA – This supplement is proven to increase HGH (human growth hormone) at night. This is a major factor to increase muscle size and strength. GABA also helps you reach stage 4 sleep faster, which means more hormonal release during the night.
Recommended GABA Supplement
- Melatonin – This popular supplement regulates sleep patterns to go in order from stage 1 to 5 more efficiently.
Recommended Melatonin Supplement
- L-Glutamine – Although this is an amino acid, L-Glutamine is very powerful. Acting is an important amino acid for recovery; L-Glutamine should be taken in a bigger dose than most other amino acids.
Recommended L-Glutamine Supplement
Obviously, sleep is very important; being the only time you actually grow muscle and get stronger. Why not get the most out of your efforts in the gym? From the small changes on your sleeping to the beneficial supplements, apply the knowledge that you learned and start unlocking your true potential!