It may seem a meer drop in the ocean compared to other aspects of building muscle, but sleep is one of the key elements to a successful muscle building program. Allowing your body a full sleep every night lays the foundation for maximum muscle growth.
Why the need for so much sleep?
Instead of ryming off the positives of sleep, let’s look at the negatives of sleep deprevation in terms of building muscle.
- Your mental focus will take a nose dive – One of the major side effects of sleep deprivation is the impact it plays on your mental state. Many studies have proven that a night without proper rest can have a negative effects on both your mental focus and your desire to perform the most mundane of daily tasks. Giving everything in the gym in each workout is one of the primary ways to gain muscle, to do that you need to be mentally on top of your game.
- Physical performance diminishes – Not only does lack of sleep badly effect your mental state, it also affects the way your body performs. Without a full nights sleep, you’ll lose a fraction of your strength, causing you to lift less and lift shorter than you would normally be able to do. Your muscle gains are ultimately made by incremental changes of the weight you lift over time, to be able to keep on increasing the amount of weight you lift your body needs to be in the right condition to do so.
- Your recovery period will increase – As you may already know, your muscles don’t grow whilst you’re in the gym, they grow whilst your resting and eating. The time in which you sleep is the main period your muscles begin to repair and grow. Not only does your muscle tissue need the time to repair, your joints, nervous system, and immune system need that time to recover too.
- Muscle growth hormones will be negatively affected- Hormones are key in helping the body in its fight to recover and build muscle. Depriving yourself of sleep impacts the most important hormones for muscle building in your body. Your cortisol levels, testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin levels are all compromised through lack of sleep.a) Cortisol – A catabolic stress hormone that encourages fat storage and breaks down muscle to use as energy.Research has shown that a lack of sleep will result in a raise in this hormone.
b) Growth Hormone – Helps the body recover and plays a key role in both aiding and maintaning muscle development.
When sleeping the growth hormone levels rise, if you fail to get a full nights sleep the levels will be lowered, limiting your body’s ability to build or maintain muscle growth.
c) Testosterone – The most well known and essential hormone when building muscle. The higher your testosterone levels are, the higher chance you have of gaining more muscle.
Lack of proper sleep lowers the levels of testosterone in your body.
d) Insulin – Responsible for transporting essential nutrients into your muscles and around your body.
Poor amounts of sleep can trick your body into releasing more of this hormone, leading to excess fat storage, diabetes or heart disease.
How Much Sleep for Building Muscle?
As with the majority of things, it changes from person to person. However, everyone should get at least 8 hours sleep every night. If you feel like you need more than that then try and fit more sleep in to your day, short naps are a great power booster!
The bottom line is, you need to get enough sleep through night so you can be completely energized throughout the day. If you still feel sluggish and fatigues then take that as a sign you need to increase your sleep time.
In terms of gaining muscle mass and performance in the gym, getting enough sleep will:
- Improve your mental state and increase physical performance
- Increase your body’s recovery rate
- Ward off possible fat gain
- Increase muscle growth
- Decrease muscle breakdown
I think that’s as good a reason as any to increase the amount of sleep you have!
YAWN! Time for another nap I think…
About Sean Nalewanyj
Once a shy, weak, lonely lad, Sean is now a widely recognised fitness expert, particularly well known for his expertise on making huge gains for those who struggle to gain muscle and creator of the very popular “Muscle Gain Truth No-Fail System“.
Discover what he’s taught thousands of hardgainers before you by visiting his website www.musclegaintruth.com