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The Prof Blog: ANABOLIC SLEEP

It’s a badge of honour to brag about how little sleep you can survive on. However chronic sleep deprivation can lead to many health issues. If you are into your training, take supplements to maximise your results, and are always looking for that extra edge – developing good sleep habits is one of the biggest improvements you can make to accelerate your results – and it’s easy and free!

Here are some facts about sleep that you may not know but should:

• Based on your circadian rhythms, most muscle repair and growth happens between around 10pm and 2am. So if you are a night owl, or you like to party late your progress will be much slower than if you get to bed at a reasonable hour.

• Don’t work out too late in the evening. Your body temperature needs to be at normal levels for good sleep. Hard training elevates your core temperature, so if you train closer to bed time your body doesn’t get a chance to cool off and sleep quality will suffer.

• When it gets dark your body will naturally produce melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep soundly. Sunlight and the light from mobile phones, computer screens, televisions, tablets and even fluorescent lights stimulate your brain to think it’s still daytime so you stay awake. If you want consistently better sleep try to reduce your exposure to all these light sources about an hour or so before sleep. If you must be on your phone or computer, install a blue light blocker which can reduce some of the negative effects.

• Caffeine keeps you awake, so back off your caffeine intake later in the day. If you train later in the day and use a pre workout check the caffeine level. You may need to reduce the dose or try another formula. Even though you may feel you sleep ok, caffeine disrupts the anabolic segment of sleep and impairs your results.

• How do you know if you are getting enough sleep? The old rule of thumb is 8 hours per night, but if you are training hard this may not be enough or for some, too much. The simplest way to work out if you are getting enough sleep is to go to bed at specific time and then see when you wake up naturally. If you have to set an alarm to wake you up for work, keep going to bed a bit earlier until you naturally wake up at your alarm time – and this will be your natural requirement.

Sleep is a complex topic but simply knowing the info above can make a big difference to your sleep and training results.

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