The Importance of Sleep for Muscle Growth

May 22, 2016

sleep for muscle growth

Just ask any bodybuilder, and they will tell you losing muscle mass is their worst nightmare. Yet, training is catabolic by nature, which means it breaks down muscle tissue. Without proper training and recovery, catabolism is a very real threat. Not only can you get weaker because of that loss in muscle mass, you can also be more prone to injury, and your metabolism will slow down.

So what’s the easiest way to prevent losing muscle mass and put your body in an anabolic state? SLEEP! For proper muscle growth, you need a good sleeping pattern where all the necessary sleeping cycles occur and help you recover. Let’s find out more about sleep and the anabolic state:

How does sleep affect muscle growth?

When you think about gaining muscle mass, you may think that it only requires hours in the gym lifting heavy weights and proper nutrition. However, sleep is another important factor when it comes to gaining lean muscle mass. That’s right, catching those precious ZZZs play a huge role in your overall health and that includes muscle growth.

What’s the anabolic state?

When you work out, your muscles build up microscopic tears on a cellular level. These tears have to be repaired so you can gain strength and grow your muscles. Sleep (and nutrition) determine how well your muscles are repaired. How you ask? When you’re snoozing, your body goes into a higher anabolic state, which means it uses that sleeping time to repair and rejuvenate all of its tissue, including muscles.

How does sleep support muscle recovery?

If you’re getting the right amount of sleep every night, your body will complete the required cycles of repair and recovery so you can build muscle. When you’re catching up on those ZZZs, your body creates increased amounts of human growth hormone, testosterone and melatonin, which play an important role in the reproduction and regeneration of cells. So without enough sleep, your body won’t be able to properly restore the damage done to your muscles when working out.

How does protein synthesis relate to muscle growth?

Protein synthesis is the removing and repairing of damaged proteins and building new ones that are replicas of the original one. The new proteins are stronger, denser and able to handle stress better. Muscle protein synthesis is the rebuilding of muscle tissue, which happens as a result of the stresses placed on your body when exercising. Without this process, your muscles won’t grow.

So to build muscle, your body has to synthesize proteins faster than it breaks them down. After absorbing nutrients, your body starts to synthesize proteins to repair and build muscle tissue. Sleep is the longest period of time that your body has between meals to do that necessary process.

How does cortisol affect building muscles?

Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, is secreted by the adrenal glands and counteracts testosterone. It’s involved in many functions including regulation of blood pressure and inflammatory response. It also assists in the breakdown of muscle tissue and prohibits muscle growth. Not getting enough sleep is stressful, which in turn increases cortisol levels, which in turn negatively impacts muscle growth.

How else can you help promote muscle recovery?

Along with great sleeping patterns, you can assist your muscle recovery and decrease protein catabolism with BPI Sports’ BEST BCAA™. It’s a powerful, muscle-building supplement that allows you to preserve lean muscle mass all while improving your performance at the gym. This superior formula of bonded chain amino acids combines leucine, isoleucine and valine, and uses Oligopeptide-Enzymatic Technology, which acts as a better transport vehicle for faster absorption and recovery.

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