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. 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. This is due to the fact that while you sleep your body produces hormones that create hypertrophy(muscle growth). In short, sleep is an anabolic state that dramatically increases the size and strength of your muscles through the release of hormones!
This is EXACTLY what you want! An easy way to understand the importance of sleep is to use cell-phone for an example. At night before bed, we usually plug in our cell-phones on the charger and charge the battery for the following day. This charge is like sleep, sleep is our “charge”. So, if you don’t charge your cell-phone, don’t expect to make too many calls the next day. Sleep is the same philosophy; the metaphor of charging your cell phone is parallel to the concept of sleep. If you want your muscle growth to be sufficient, all you need to do is SLEEP! 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 of sleep occurs within the first 5 to 10 minutes. At this time, your body is very aware of your surrounding and the slightest distraction could cause a Myloconic Jerk(a slight jerk while sleeping). At this stage your muscles aren’t in a paralysis state (muscle growth state).
- During the second stage of sleep, 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
Often times, we don’t have “a good night sleep”. These following tips will help you get the best sleep of your life. With proper sleep, not only will you feel well rested, but you will gain more mass than ever before.
- Sleep in a dark area. Sleeping in a dark area is important because as your eyes perceive darkness, your body naturally lowers your heart rate in order to calm your body before rest.
- Sleep at comfortable temperature. As we sleep, our bodies naturally lower its temperature. So if you sleep 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 sleep. 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, sleep needs to be consistent every night. Try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day to maximize the benefits sleep provides.
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 miss sleep, you might as well miss your workout. During sleep, the greatest amounts of hormones are released. Sleep is anabolic state or “the growth state” and if you neglect it, there are several effects.
- 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 of sleep with varying age groups. However, sleeping more than the recommended amount, is as detrimental as sleeping to little. Here are the proven amounts of sleep necessary per age group to achieve the full benefits sleep has to offer.
- 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 sleep and blocks the buildup of 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) during sleep. 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 sleep.
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!