The Key to Muscle Recovery and Growth: Sleep
When you’re focused on building muscle and getting in shape, your first thoughts probably go to finding the right routine, figuring out the proper nutrition, and motivating yourself to stick with the program you choose. However, if you really want to get the most out of your workouts, you also need to think about what happens when you’re not lifting weights. As it turns out, getting proper sleep is critical for recovering after a workout and for building new muscle.
This is because sleep is the time when your brain and body repair and recharge themselves. When you lift weights, you’re actually breaking down muscle tissue—it’s afterward, as the body rests, when that tissue is rebuilt bigger and stronger than before. That is, if your body has the nutrients and downtime to make it happen. You need sufficient time in deep sleep and REM sleep to get the full benefit of your workout.
During the deeper stages of non-REM sleep, the body releases HGH, human growth hormone, an essential factor in repairing exhausted muscle and building up new tissue. It makes sense that if you’re not spending enough time in these critical sleep phases, you aren’t generating enough growth hormone to sustain your muscles. In fact, research shows that accumulating a “sleep debt” (where you sleep every night but not the recommended amount, building up an increasing level of sleep deprivation over time) makes it harder for your muscles to recover and can lead to a decrease in muscle mass.
The production of HGH is not the only benefit you’re missing out on if you don’t sleep enough. During sleep, your body replenishes your stores of muscle glycogen—a form of glucose that is your main source of carbohydrate energy during a workout. If these levels are low, you are not able to work out as intensely. Failing to replenish this energy source fully before your next workout will result in faster exhaustion and lackluster performance. Blood flow to your muscles also increases while you’re sleeping, increasing oxygen levels and helping to break down lactic acid. In addition to all that, the body releases prolactin, an anti-inflammatory hormone that helps your joints recover. In short, if you want the best results, you should consider sleep to be an essential part of your workout plan.
In general, adults should strive to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Elite athletes can log quite a bit more than that when they’re actively training—while you probably don’t need to match their 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, consider trying to get a bit more shut-eye if you’re engaging in high-intensity workouts. Luckily, exercise is beneficial in helping you achieve a better night’s rest.
At IDLE Sleep, we’re dedicated to helping our customers get the great sleep they need. Our luxury mattresses are designed with the latest in high-tech materials to give you a comfortable, supportive night’s sleep for years to come. With a variety of styles and levels of firmness to choose from, we have something for every kind of sleeper. To find out which IDLE Sleep mattress is right for you, click here.