Rob: What is up dude? How are the gainz coming along?
Bro Science Dude: Not good man. I am doing everything right too. I got a good diet and getting the right amount of calories and macros. I drink a lot of water too. My supplement stack is on point. I am hitting the gym 4, sometimes 5 times, a week. Focusing on compound lifts and my form. This is BS.
Rob: Damn dude. What about the other aspects of your life?
Bro Science Dude: What do you mean? I just said everything I do is straight. My body is just messed up. I am about to quit this whole bodybuilding thing.
Rob: How much are sleeping? And what is the quality?
Bro Science Dude: Ah…maybe 6 or 7 hours on a good night. What does that have to do with anything?
Rob: Bro. You know your muscles grow when you are in deep sleep, right? The more quality sleep you get, the more muscle and strength gainz you get. Plus, you testosterone levels go up which helps burn fat, stress levels go down, quicker reaction time and explosiveness, and you feel much better overall. The list goes on. There are no negatives to sleep except for time lost. But your body will thank you for it when you wake up and do not feel like shit. Just remember 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
Bro Science Dude: Word. I did not know all that dude. Shoot. I am going to sleep more.
Rob: Hey man. Happy to help. Just dropping knowledge. You know how I do.
Enough funny dialog. This post is about to the relationship sleep and bodybuilding. The two are heavily intertwined. This post goes into the nitty gritty of why sleep is so important to muscle growth, strength gainz, and overall health and wellness. As I explain below, this might the one missing link holding you back from the gainz you are looking for.
More Sleep = More Muscle Gainz And Strength
It is a common assumption that how dedicated a person is in the gym is the only factor that determines their muscle growth. Besides physical work, other factors like the diet and enough sleep do not only determine a person’s muscle growth, but also the strength and the health of the body during these exercises. Focusing on the latter, poor sleeping patterns may lower a person’s success in the gym when aiming to build the body. For a successful bodybuilding, one should ensure they supplement the gym with about 8 hours of quality sleep. Below are essential points about the relationship between sleep and bodybuilding worth knowing.
Sleep is Necessary in Increasing Testosterone in Men for Building Muscles
Testosterone is the hormone that makes a boy be a man. This hormone does not only give men their masculine traits, but it determines the growth and development of muscles in the body. With low levels of this hormone, it is almost impossible to increase muscle mass in the body. Researches show that the body is constantly under reconstruction during quality sleep. The body uses this quality time to produce this hormone in adequate amounts to use the next day. Lack of enough sleep means the body will not produce enough testosterone required to build muscles.
Lacking Enough Sleep Lowers Concentration and Alertness
Lack of enough sleep may minimize a person’s focus and physical energy while in the gym. It may make a person feel constantly tired, groggy, and lack the motivation, hence interfering with the results. It becomes hard to focus on the exercise at hand, which results to getting a low workout. At this time, closing the tired eyes is the only thing a person will feel comfortable doing. Since lifting weights in the gym needs both a focused and mentally sharp person, enough sleep should be the best friend.
The Science Behind the Above Points
Sleeping involves a number of stages from one to five. The first stage is the transition between sleep and awakening, which lasts for about 15 minutes. The body begins to develop a light sleep in stage two, which last for about 20 minutes. Delta waves begin in stage 3 where the light sleep transits into deep sleep. Deep sleep begins in stage 4, where there is production of slow brain waves. The production of hormones necessary for muscle repair begins in stage 3 and 4, where the body is in a relaxed state. The deepest sleep occurs in stage five, which is the stage where the body muscles are in a paralytic state necessary for optimal rejuvenation. It is hard for people with stress to go through the five stages of sleeping necessary for proper muscle development. One should ensure they relax by taking shower or during some exercises before going to bed. One should also go to bed the same time each day, avoid excess stimulants like caffeine, and sleep in a cool atmosphere away from any interference. In addition, one should ensure they take diet high in proteins such as soy, fish, beans, plants (fruits and vegetable), and lean meat. The protein facilitates both build up of muscle, and burning excess fats necessary for weight loss. During all these practices, taking water in adequate amounts is mandatory to both hydrate the body and increase metabolism.
Promoting Better Quality Sleep How can you get better quality sleep? There are plenty of ways to produce better quality sleep. I will provide a list below.
- Set A Bed Time And Wake Up Time – My bedtime is 10 pm and wake time is 7 am. (Of course I adjust on the weekends a bit). Setting a schedule for anything increasing the chances of it getting done. The same thing goes for sleep. Make you allot 15 to 30 minutes to “falling asleep time” and 20 to 30 minutes “waking up” time into your sleep schedule.
- Do Not Workout Or Eat A Large Dinner More Than 3 Hours Before Going To Sleep – Both of these things speed internal body processes and make it harder to fall asleep when done closer to bed time. So adjust your schedule accordingly. Maybe you should workout in the morning instead. Or eat dinner at 6pm instead of 9pm. Obviously consuming caffeine is a bad idea in the evening if you are trying fall asleep a little while later. Unless your tolerance is ridiculously high. Adjust your schedule accordingly.
- Read, Watch, Or Listen To Something Really Boring – Do you have that thing that just puts you to sleep? To me, it’s politics. Anything I listen to about current news in politics bores the hell out of me. For you, it could be anything that does not get your mind racing or excited. In fact, it would be great if it did the opposite. Podcasts at a low volume is great for this. Long boring books are good as well. You can also listen to really slow or classical music. Try out different methods and see what works.
- Begin Taking Bodybuilding Sleep Supplements – There are certain supplement that will help aid sleep. Such as ZMA, GABA, Melatonin, Valerian Root, or Lavender. More on that in a little bit.
- Darken And Silence The Room Prior To Bedtime – This is pretty self explanatory. Make sure to do not look stare into a computer or phone right before you go bed or step into a fully lit bathroom. If you, allot time for you to adjust to the dark. Your body gets into “sleep mode” in nighttime environments.
Best Sleep Supplement Stacks
The commonly available bodybuilding sleep supplements available in market are arranged here based on popularity, effectiveness etc. There is no need to take all of these. I only use one product. Experiment with one or two depending on what your needs and issues are. The sleep supplements I recommend are:
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated or paid by any of the companies listed below. Thanks.
- ZMA (Zinc mono-methionine, aspartate, Magnesium Aspartate) – It is one of the best sleep supplements. ZMA products which are almost regular among bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other athletes. Magnesium and zinc are supposed to help provide deep sleep . In a study done in 1998 on NCAA football players, the players who only took ZMA tablets reported an increase in muscle strength (Hornyak et. al 1998). It may help your testosterone levels although their is no significant evidence suggesting so. This supplement also contains Vitamin B6 as pyridoxine hydrochloride to help induce deep sleep and ensure seamless transitions between sleep stages. Top 10 bestsellers include: NOW ZMA, Optimum ZMA, and Cellulor COR – Performance ZMA.
- Melatonin – Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in our body. Its main function is to control our Circadian rhythm i.e sleep-awake cycle. Basically, it helps your body recognize its night time and daytime. Initially melatonin dosage should be around 1.5mg before going to bed, and thereafter average dosage is around 0.5-3mg. Body building sleep supplements that contain melatonin help in deep peaceful sleep, which is very necessary in any healthy workout regime. Popular melatonin products include Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve and Muscle Pharm Z-Core PM.
- Valerian – is an extract from the plant Valerian Officinalis. It is an herb and non-toxic. Valerian root extracts used in this products help lower stress levels and helps your body fall in restful sleep. There have been many studies done on Valerian roots. One of them by Balderer and Borbely(1985) showed reduced drowsiness or increased alertness after becoming awake. In the same study, there was no change in sleep stages or in the waves recorded in the EEG indicating that it only help you fall sleep but does not change the quality of sleep. United States Government’s National Institute of Health that doses of 400-900mg taken 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed. The most popular Valerian products are : Now Valerian Root and GNC Valerian Root.
- GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) – chief and most potent neurotransmitter of the brain. It is involved in many activities that depress that parasympathetic nervous system. The bodily processes of oral supplementation are quite complex but you only need to know the information above. If you like more scientific information, click here. The products I recommend are GNC AMP Recover PM and NOW GABA.
I tend to use some of the more complete products such Cellulor COR – Performance ZMA, Muscle Pharm Z-Core PM or GNC Enhanced Sleep Formula . They contain a little bit of everything so they are great for getting the best of all worlds. Give a couple of these products a try and see how they work for you.
Now you know why sleep is so important. It is the easiest to replenish the body and spike energy levels. Plus, sleep = muscle gainz guys. It is that simple. Once sleeping habits are correcting that is when the growth really begins. I also provided a good list of bodybuilding sleep supplements to help increase the quality of rest you get. I hope we all understand the important of rest and sleep. Now let’s share it with the world. Please share this post if you liked it.
To Your Restful Sleep, Better Health, And Increased Muscle Gainz!