Building muscle: The importance of sleep

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Man just waking up with alarm clock

Importance of Sleep

If you work out, you need to sleep well. That’s because while you slumber, your body goes all out to repair tissue and build muscle.

In fact when you’re asleep, growth hormone levels peak, making bedtime a key opportunity to promote muscle growth. But how do you get the most out of sleeping, when all you’re doing is lying there?

Simple – follow our sleep strategy.

Top up

Sleep means fasting for at least seven hours. That’s a risk as far as muscle development goes because when your body runs out of readily available energy, it turns to protein. You need to top up before you turn off the lights. A glass of hot milk before bed is one way to approach the problem, but there are some other supplements worth consideration:

Micellar casein

Because your body only digests micellar casein protein slowly, it makes for a steady release throughout the night.

Glutamine

This amino acid helps prevent muscle breakdown so is a fantastic supplement to take before bed. Studies have shown it also plays a role in boosting that muscle building night-watchman, growth hormone.

ZMA

A combination of zinc, magnesium aspartate and Vitamin B6, this supplement can increase testosterone and IGF-1, both crucial in stimulating muscle growth. ZMA may also enhance sleep quality helping you wake up refreshed and ready to train.

Relax

Don’t underestimate the importance of winding down before you turn in. Go to bed stressed and you’ll have the stress hormone, cortisol coursing through your veins. That’s not going to help you nod off, and when you do, the catabolic effect of the hormone will see protein leached from your muscles. So switch off the TV, read a book, listen to a relaxation tape – above all, chill out!

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