When you think about muscle development and getting in shape, the first things to come to mind are probably along the lines of a fitness routine, weights, cardio, push-ups and several other workouts. Today, we are going to take a look at a majorly overlooked factor that affects our bodies greatly – sleep.
Sleep is one of the least considered factors of muscle growth, yet people don't ask the question: why is sleep important? We get caught up in nutrition plans and physical exercises, but often forget that the biochemistry of body processes that take place to show results. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy diet, proper workouts and cardio exercises won’t go unnoticed in the process of muscle building, but these alone won't have the same effect without the natural element of proper sleep.
So, Why is Sleep Important?
In the most basic of explanations, the body perfects all the work of muscle development initiated by physical training exercises. In more detailed terms, as the day fades away and sun sets, or in the case of exposure to blue-dark room conditions, the body's hormone secretion increases as well as chemicals that are like a personal sedative. In addition, alertness decreases along with the secretion of adrenaline which prepares the body for a shut-down (aka sleep). Soon, the magic happens.
During sleep, the body refuels and recharges, building resilience to prepare for the hard exercises and work-outs it will go through the following day. This taps into both mental and physical energy pools; which is further explained by the mental refreshment feeling gotten after a good night rest.
Protein synthesis and self repair take place to rebuild worn-out tissues and damaged muscles fibers, strengthening old muscles and building new tissues. Furthermore, a new volume of lean mass is added to the body. This completes a phase of the repair process by replenishing and increasing the body’s muscular volume.
During sleep, eyes slammed shut, the growth hormone is released, which boosts protein synthesis. The growth hormone, although introduced into the bloodstream during workouts, is majorly produced during sleep.
What Happens if I Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
There are numerous effects that can have a negative impact on your health as a result of sleep deprivation. Higher blood pressure, elevated blood sugar level, and insulin resistance are just a few to mention. However, another issue associated with muscle building and sleep deprivation is the production of increased cortisol hormones. Cortisol, a hormone that breaks down tissues and causes muscle mass loss also magnifies the impact of the physical stress of exercising the muscles. A good night's rest spanning from seven to eight hours is a perfect way to refresh and balance cortisol level
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Now that we can answer the question why is sleep important, we can dive into how much sleep is enough. As earlier mentioned, the body repairs and synthesizes protein at a faster rate while asleep than awake. It’s Pure logic; your iPhone would charge faster while off compared to while you’re surfing the web or texting. A good night’s rest is very important, especially on the days you have exercised. While every body is different and has various needs, generally speaking you should afford your body a sound seven to eight hours, to ensure you wake up fresh and ready for the next day.
The importance of sleep in muscle growth and in our everyday lives cannot be over stressed. Sleep is crucial in order to recover energy and foster muscle growth. The speed of protein synthesis and volume of the growth hormone produced during this period cannot be achieved during day time. A balanced diet and adequate sleep will promote better results from all physical inputs. Our bodies should have at least eight hours of rest after workouts. So next time you hit the gym, be sure to get a good night’s rest as well.
If you are still asking yourself "why is sleep important" or have any questions, please feel free to ask me here or give me a call at 310-795-2236.