How important is sleep for muscle growth and weight loss?
While sit-ups and crunches are great exercises for burning abdominal fat and sculpting your 6-pack, you must ensure after all the intense training, one final step is taken. This last step is the one that takes place in your sleep.
It may sound odd to some of you who are new to the world of hormones and hormonal regulation, but scientifically this makes perfect sense. The answer is attributed to the powerfully regenerative activity that occurs when growth hormone spikes during your sleep cycle. As far as lifestyle goals go, sleep should be up at the top of the list alongside burning fat or building muscle. It really does deliver that final step in goal achievement.
The muscle building benefits of having good sleep hygiene
Amanda Dinte, nutritionist BHSc, has published an article on her blog called The Kitchen Cleanse. It lists three of the top benefits of a good night’s sleep:
- While asleep, our bodies balance themselves on a hormonal level and produce energy. This is the reason why your morning boot camp session feels more like a party than a punishing regime you signed yourself up for.
- During sleep is when the muscles and all of the systems of the body repair themselves from the abuse of daily living. It also helps facilitate the process of muscle hypertrophy so that all of your hard work in the gym doesn’t go to waste and instead builds visible results.
- Sleep cleans the brain. It flushes the body with the growth hormone, which is responsible for tissue repair, converting fat into muscle after training, regulating blood sugar levels and improving liver health.
It is definitely important to put in time for training, and it’s important that you consume a muscle building diet that is high in protein, but quality sleep is also crucial.
Research has been undertaken to prove this case in point. Sleeplessness has been shown to affect one’s metabolism and hormonal harmony negatively.
Dr Siobhan Banks, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in the US and the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia, is an expert in the benefits of restorative sleep as it pertains to weight loss.
- It’s long been known that cortisol is a primary culprit of weight gain due to insomnia.
- Cortisol is the stress hormone that makes us crave food regardless of hunger, for it activates the reward centres in our brain.
- Leptin and ghrelin are two other hormones, which play a role in the control of hunger.
- Fatigue has been proven to drain leptin supply. As the production of ghrelin increases, less leptin is produced and our stomach feels empty.
- The more ghrelin we have, the more our appetite increases, and consequently, we experience a slow down in our metabolism.
Sleep Deprivation Causes Hormonal Chaos
It seems that insomnia and sleeplessness — which is defined as having less than six hours of proper shut-eye on a consistent basis, creates a storm of hormonal chaos.
The best remedy is to eat light and healthy, get regular exercise and relaxation time, turn off the TV and smartphone at least an hour before hitting the hay, and make your sleep sanctuary a reality. Check out our “Sleep Well, Sleeping Tips”.
Some people find white noise sends them to sleep way faster than a quiet bedroom. One should keep the temperature down as well – but not too cold.
There are health and lifestyle peptide supplements and nutrient compounds that we carry that may positively influence your sleep hygiene and get you the rest you need.
- Banks, S., & Dinges, D. F. (2007). Behavioral and physiological consequences of sleep restriction. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 3(5), 519-28.
Dattilo M, e. (2018). Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. – PubMed – NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 14 November 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21550729
- Buchmann, N., Spira, D., Norman, K., Demuth, I., Eckardt, R., & Steinhagen-Thiessen, E. (2016). Sleep, Muscle Mass and Muscle Function in Older People. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 113(15), 253-60.
Killick, R., Banks, S., & Liu, P. (2012). Implications of Sleep Restriction and Recovery on Metabolic Outcomes. The Journal Of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 97(11), 3876-3890. doi:10.1210/jc.2012-1845
(2018). Tandfonline.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07420528.2017.1335318
- Kim, T. W., Jeong, J. H., & Hong, S. C. (2015). The impact of sleep and circadian disturbance on hormones and metabolism. International journal of endocrinology, 2015, 591729.
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