Sleep for Muscle: an overlooked aspect of recovery

Want a quick tip for building muscle?  Go to bed!

No supplement can compensate for consistent sleep if you are wanting to to get bigger and stronger.  I wonder how many young trainees overlook this essential aspect of proper recovery while obsessing over which brand of protein powder they should use.

Do you think you are too young to be affected by sleep deprivation?  Think again!

One study took ten young healthy men (mean age of 24 years old) and tested the effects of sleep deprivation.  Hormone levels were first tested during three nights of 10-hour bedtimes (10 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.).  The men then endured eight nights of 5-hour bedtimes. Daytime testosterone levels decreased by 10% to 15% as a result of shortened sleep (the study noted that testosterone only decreases by 1%-2% per year as a natural part of aging).  In other words, a few nights of sleep deprivation will give you the testosterone levels of a much older man.1

I know all of us have to stay up late every once in a while–that’s life.  But don’t make a practice of it if you want maximum results from your training.  Get enough sleep and you’ll make much better gains in the gym.

1. JAMA. 2011 Jun 1;305(21):2173-4.  Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men