Many people who are into fitness know that regular training, sound nutrition and proper supplementation go hand-in-hand. Sadly, a good number of them take their sleep for granted. Sleep is an indisposable part of the muscle growth equation. If you do not get enough sleep, then your muscle growth progress will be severely affected.
The Importance of Sleep for Muscle Growth
Rest is one of the most important principles of exercise and one of the most overlooked. While you sleep, your body goes into a suspended state of animation. This is when your body does what you want it do-build muscle. Ideally, you should let your body recover for 48 hours between workouts for optimum results.
Restorative theories of sleep describe it as a time for healing and growth. Non-REM sleep is an anabolic situation which gives way to growth and rejuvenation of the body's immune, nervous, muscular and skeletal systems.
A good number of people believe they can get by with just three or four hours of sleep every night. There is also the prevailing notion that sleep needs are greatly individualised. However, the truth is, the vast majority of people need at least seven to eight hours of sleep nightly for optimal function. They say that the quality of sleep diminishes with age. While this may be true, it doesn't apply to the human body's basic need for sleep. It is interesting to note that scientists maintain the body is as dynamic during sleep as it is when we are awake.
Adequate sleep and rest are invaluable in terms of muscle growth. If you don't get enough sleep, the natural metabolic processes which produce several important hormones that influence how your body builds new muscle tissues are disrupted. While you sleep, your body steps up the creation of cell structures (anabolism) and slows down the rate of cells breaking down (catabolism).
There are three hormones which are important in muscle building, all of which are produced in higher amounts while you sleep:
1. Human Growth Hormone (HGH)-scientific studies also suggest that human growth hormone (HGH), is produced in its largest amounts during the first two hours of sleep every night. HGH is vital to the body being able to form and sustain muscle mass.
2. Testosterone-testosterone levels determine how much muscle your body can build so getting enough sleep to maintain that level will enable you to get the muscle bulk that you desire.
3. Cortisol-this is the hormone that assists in the breaking down of muscle tissue. It supports the metabolic systems of catabolism (muscle breakdown) and anabolism (muscle build-up), both of which are vital to the muscle growth process.
Effects of Insufficient Sleep on Muscle Growth
Insufficient sleep means that your body will not be building new cells. What this means is that you are sabotaging hour muscle-building goals by disrupting normal metabolism and hormone production. In short, not getting enough sleep defeats the purpose of your intense exercise regimen. Not only does insufficient sleep hinder muscle growth, it also throws off your coordination and mental focus. There is no way you will be at the top of your game when you are training in the fitness centre. Further down the track, this may eventually lead to less strength and a greater possibility of getting hurt.
You may be exercising vigorously, eating the correct kinds of food and supplementing properly, but if you don't get enough sleep, all of your hard work will go down the drain. Sure, there may be times that sleep deprivation happens during a call of duty to your family say, an emergency or early morning diaper change for your baby. Nonetheless, you owe it to yourself to be more particular with your sleeping habits not merely for muscle growth, but for a healthier body which will serve you well in the years to come.