In pursuit of the perfect body, you pay a lot of attention to your training routine, diet, and pre-workout supplement stack. Granted, these are all crucial to effective muscle-building, but you might have neglected another aspect of your training regime that plays just as significant a part – recovery. Or, more specifically, muscle recovery through quality sleep.
In this article, find out why you shouldn’t skimp on sleep, and how you can enhance your sleep quality (and muscle growth) by following five simple lifestyle tips.
Poor sleep, poor recovery
Strenuous exercise, much like your workout sessions, can cause microscopic tears in your muscles. And that’s where the human growth hormone (HGH), responsible for the repair and rebuilding of muscle tissues, comes in.
As it happens, 75% of the hormone’s production takes place during (yes, you guessed it) deep sleep. So, if you don’t sleep enough, your body is not able to produce enough HGH to promote healing – highlighting the importance of sleep for muscle growth and recovery.
How much sleep do I need?
As you can see, catching enough Z’s at night is necessary for optimal recovery. But – how much sleep do you need on a nightly basis? While there are individual variations, the National Sleep Foundation recommends for adults to get between 7 – 9 hours of shuteye per night. Now, if you’re someone who spends more time trying to fall asleep than sleep, you must be gasping at this number.
Don’t worry; here are five tips you can follow to flip the switch and guide your body into a peaceful, muscle-building slumber.
Tips for proper rest
- Unplug devices – It’s always a good idea to switch off all electronics about an hour (or more) before getting into bed. Getting rid of stimulation – like television, computer screens, and loud music – helps your mind power down and relax.
- Keep it dark – To help set the right environment for sleep, consider using light-tight blinds, shades, and window coverings. All light sources can interfere with a solid night’s sleep, so it’s best to keep them to a minimum.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule – Ideally, you should go to bed and wake up at the same time, every day. A regular sleeping schedule helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and reduces the amount of time you take to fall asleep.
- No intense activity before bed – Many people report feeling too energized and alert from exercising just before bed. You should, therefore, allow for at least 6 hours between your exercise session and bedtime to prevent any sleep disruptions.
- Consider supplements – If you’re still having difficulties falling asleep, you can try supplementing with the following:
- Melatonin – The hormone melatonin plays a role in your natural sleep-wake cycle. Research shows that melatonin supplements can help treat sleeping disorders, such as delayed sleep phase, and improve the quality of your sleep.
- Magnesium – Magnesium regulates the hormone melatonin, which, as mentioned above, guides sleep-wake cycles in your body. It also helps activate the neurotransmitters that are responsible for calming the body and the mind. Oral magnesium supplementation can, therefore, promote better sleep.