Spending time being physically active is a major factor for health and muscle growth. But if you're not following up on your training with generous sleep time, you could be sabotaging your progress.
Muscle recovery happens when we sleep. That means muscles aren't built in the gym: they're developed while you're sleeping. When you sleep, your body releases growth hormone, which may regenerate muscles.
Your brain is recharged during sleep as well, which can support healthy training. You'll be more focused and able to concentrate on training when you have a good night's sleep.
The Science of Sleep and Muscle Growth
Sleep is so important to muscle growth and recovery that you may experience muscle loss if you don't sleep enough. A study of sleep and muscle recovery found an increase in cortisol, reduction in testosterone, and other conditions favoring the loss of muscle mass during sleep deprivation. Not sleeping can hinder muscle recovery following exercise. study of sleep and muscle recovery found an increase in cortisol, reduction in testosterone, and other conditions favoring the loss of muscle mass during sleep deprivation. Not sleeping can hinder muscle recovery following exercise.
Another study focused on how sleep influences growth hormone and cortisol levels. Results indicate we don't experience a normal surge in growth hormone if we aren't sleeping. But growth hormone levels are higher during slow wave sleep, so getting into a deep sleep is key for making the most of growth hormone while you're sleeping.
How to Support Healthy Sleep and Muscle Recovery
Get regular physical activity. Exercise can help you improve the quality of your sleep. Even if you're not training every day, take time to be physically active. Just a brisk walk may help.
Stick to a regular sleep routine. Staying consistent with sleep can help improve its quality. When you go to bed and wake up around the same time each night and day, your body starts to predict when you'll go to bed and you can wind down easier.
Make your bedtime routine relaxing. Before bed, spend time doing relaxing activities. Stop screen time and turn down the lights in your home. Take a hot bath or shower, and spend some time meditating, journaling, or stretching to calm down and feel more relaxed as you fall asleep.
Limit exercise before bed. Although exercise is generally good for sleep, getting vigorous exercise right before you go to sleep may leave you lying awake at night. Avoid working out within the hours just before bed so you can get the rest you need.
Schedule sleep. Make time for sleep. As you plan your schedule, look ahead and make sure you have at least eight hours of time to rest each night.
Choose your mattress carefully. Your mattress choice can influence how well you sleep. Make sure you're choosing a bed that's right for your needs by reading online mattress reviews and using sleep trials to test out mattresses at home.
High-quality sleep supports muscle recovery. Be sure you're making the most of your sleep so you can maintain healthy function and muscle growth.