getting-to-sleep-becomes-workSleep. Everyone needs it. The body cannot physically and mentally function at it’s optimal peak without getting a good nights sleep every night. A lot of doctors and experts on the subject recommend anywhere between 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night for the average person.

What if you weren’t the average person? What if you were an athlete that pushed his/her body through grueling workouts every day. Do you require more sleep? Is it important to sleep to build muscle?

Yes it is. Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to muscle gain and is a big part of the muscle and strength building equation along with proper nutrition and training . One of the biggest culprits in preventing muscle growth is not getting enough sleep.

Most of you should know this; muscle is not built in the gym. The gym only serves as a place to break down the muscles and to trigger a body response through vigorous activity. Sleep is a very important time for your body to recover and rebuild damaged muscle tissue. I know a lot of people who brag about being able to function through a whole day with only having 4 hours of sleep the night before. If you want to increase your performance in the gym and see sizable gains, it is very important to aim for 8 hours of quality sleep or more a night. One of the biggest problems with sleep deprivation is the effect it will have on your mental state. A lot of us lead hectic lifestyles, with a majority having busy work schedules and the other trying to keep up with schooling. An example I can think of is students. They work out during the day between classes, and then often pulling an all-nighter to study for an exam while running on energy drinks. A few months down the road they see little to no results at all and often blame not eating enough or working out hard enough. Sleep is often over looked by many people and not getting enough sleep will not only lead you to become physically drained, but mentally as well.

Sleep deprivation has negative effects on 4 hormones that play a key role in the muscle building process. Those hormones are :

Cortisol: A catabolic stress hormone that increases abdominal fat storage and stimulates the break down of muscle. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep will cause the body to release higher amounts of this hormone.

Testerone: The most important hormone when it comes to packing on solid muscle. The higher levels of testosterone, the more muscle you will be able to build. Sleep deprivation is proven to lower testosterone levels throughout the body.

Growth Hormone: Regenerates the body and plays a large role in building and maintaining muscle. While you sleep your body is is experiencing a natural surge in growth hormone levels. If you fail to get proper amounts of sleep, this hormone surge will be compromised.

Insulin: Responsible for the uptake of important nutrients into your body cells. Insufficient sleep can result in an increase in your body’s insulin resistance levels which means your body will have to release higher than normal amounts of this hormone to compensate. This can lead to fat storage, diabetes or heart disease.

With that said, here are some tips to help make sure you get restful sleep:

1) Do not consume any caffeinated beverages for at least 6 hours before sleep.
2) Sleep in a slightly cool, dry room.
3)Try to keep your sleeping schedule as consistent as possible
4)Do not eat a HUGE meal before bed
5) Avoid nicotine.

So there you have it. After reading this you should aim for the recommended 8 to 10 hours a night of sleep. You know what they say, “it’s while you sleep, you grow.” That probably refers to growing height wise. In this case you sleep to build muscle.

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John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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