The secret to getting bigger is sleep

15:44 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments


Many people often think that training is the most important part of gaining muscle, but this is not true. Your muscles do not grow during your workout they grow during your times of rest. In this rest period sleep is the most important aspect of this resting period to grow and recover your muscles from the damage caused by your workout.

Making More Hours in a Day Is Counter-productive


Many people especially students and young people have a very hard time finding enough time in the day for all their daily activities such as studying/working and going out at night time to clubs, pubs and restaurants till the early morning hours. We drink all sorts of stuff like Redbull to help us stay awake for longer. We do all we can just to stay awake for longer.

Even older people are busy and are up till the wee hours of the morning clicking away on their computers. Everyone has such busy schedules and we all try by all means to utilise most of the hours in the day.
Even though we think that using up more time in our day is productive, it is actually counterproductive when it comes to your efficiency on the next day and it is definitely counteractive to all the effort you put in the gym. There is a reason doctors say we should sleep at least 8 hours a day and I will explain that reason in detail below as well as why sleeping is key in building a great body.

We all want to make lean gains, sleeping takes us a few steps closer to achieving that built up body.

The Importance of Sleep for Muscle Building Anabolic Hormones


All bodily processes such as hormonal regulation and physiological processes are controlled by a 24 hour daily pattern called the circadian rhythm.

You see sleeping is important in regulation of hormones and physiological processes because some hormones are secreted when you are asleep and is it dark for example melatonin which is known as the hormone of darkness. If you do not sleep you end up disturbing this cycle and you feel like crap the next day. This will affect your daily activities, since we are talking about muscle building here this will affect your energy levels and thus also your workout intensity and lifts.

The quality of sleep is more important than the duration of sleep for example it is better to sleep for a complete undisturbed 8 hours than to sleep 8 cumulative hours where you where waking up every couple of hours. Our sleep is broken down into 2 main stages, Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. NREM makes up 80% of our sleep time and REM only makes up makes up 20% of our total sleep time.  

During NREM sleep our levels of growth hormone rise and peak whereas cortisol levels decrease. During REM sleep is when the majority of our dreams occur this is also the period where testosterone levels increase at a rapid rate and our metabolic rate also increases during this stage.
So sleep has an effect on our endocrine hormone balance, both stages contribute towards proper functioning of our system, they control the increase of the anabolic hormones testosterone and growth hormone which are the muscle we need to get bigger and stronger. If this cycle is disturbed than all our muscle building efforts fall short.

And finally I want to say that not sleeping will make your body enter a catabolic state, where there will be increased cortisol secretion which will lead to muscle protein break down, high blood pressure and increased fat storage among other things.

Find a Way to Have Long Quality Sleep


This is not what you want if you want to build muscle, so get enough sleep because sleep is as important as the workout itself. Start doing all your tasks by a certain time period and try to sleep early so that you get quality sleep and wake up feeling fresh. You can choose the task by prioritising and making sure you complete other tasks ahead of time so that you do not have to stay up the whole night before that task is due. Also avoid or limit drinking coffee, Redbull or any other caffeinated drinks after midday.

One last note, sleep in total darkness for undisturbed quality sleep.

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