Training is an effective way to achieve significant improvements in the body, but it requires a tremendous amount of effort. This effort can be divided into two phases: things you do inside the gym, and things you do outside the gym (post-training recovery).
Your efforts inside the gym ultimately result in the breakdown of an important component of all body tissue- protein. In order to grow, this damage must be repaired- the majority of which happens during sleep.
Unfortunately, sleep is sometimes a luxury, and many bodybuilders don’t have it enough. Sometimes, it’s the fault of the tense schedule of training. Other times, people just think that sleep is not that important. This is a mistake that could trample your progress.
The sleep phases are regulated by the biological clock according to the time of day.
In the morning, when the level of light rises, your body begins to release chemical elements such as adrenaline and dopamine, while reducing the release of elements that cause drowsiness. This allows you to wake up and cheer up.
In the evenings, when the light level decreases, the body begins to release substances such as serotonin, melatonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid, while reducing the release of substances that stimulate activity. This allows you to relax and prepares you for bedtime.
A dream includes a number of periods that can be divided into five phases:
- The first phase of sleep: You feel sleepiness, the brain slows down, your eyes close. It’s in this phase of sleep that you easily wake u
- The second phase of sleep: The brain activity further slows down, and muscles relax. Heart rate slows down, the body temperature drops. The musculoskeletal system starts to shut down, preparing for deep sleep.
- The third and fourth phases of sleep: The brain activity slows down, the musculoskeletal system shuts down completely. you lose consciousness, and metabolism slows down. The third phase goes to the fourth one, it’s the deepest stage of sleep, which a person is most difficult to wake up from. This is the most useful phase of sleep because it’s during this phase that the growth hormone level reaches its peak.
- Rapid sleep: The fifth phase of sleep is a so-called quick sleep. During this phase, the eyes move quickly, and the person has bright dreams. Heart rate and breathing rhythm are accelerated and pressure is increased.
Throughout the night, we go through all these phases repeatedly.
The importance of sleep: anabolism and more
So, having finished with the scientific side of the question, let’s move on to the pleasant one: how can sleep improve your health and increase your muscle mass?
Sleep has an invaluable effect on your entire body. It is during your sleep that your body recovers from stress and builds muscle mass. During sleep, hormones are released most intensively, which is why sleep has an anabolic effect.
In addition, while sleeping, we replenish the stocks of neurotransmitters (special chemicals), which are necessary to ensure that our training is carried out efficiently and safely. These neurotransmitters include dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, acetylcholine, and much more.
These substances are responsible for attention, concentration, motivation, overall energy levels, and muscle contractions. They are depleted by hard workouts and all other activities. Only sleep allows the body to heal itself by replenishing the substances needed to achieve results.
At the same time, sleep is important for the immune system, mental health, and millions of biological processes that take place every day in the body. Without enough sleep, your body will not function properly, your health will deteriorate, and the results will fall.
The consequences of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is the most effective way to worsen your health and cause muscular tissue to burn. It’s associated with a range of conditions, including depression, reduced immunity, and a number of serious illnesses, including heart problems.
When you build up muscles, sleep deprivation is particularly damaging, as the reduction in sleep reduces the amount of time your body has for recovery and growth.
As a result, it can cause inflammation of the whole body, increase of cortisol levels, catabolism, reduction of muscle tissue and increase of fatty tissue. Also, lack of sleep leads to a decrease in the level of anabolic hormones and disruption of the normal functioning of the body.
Scientific fact: lack of sleep increases the stress that the body receives from training, and the person risks over-training. And there is another consequence of sleep deprivation: increased traumatism.
Lack of sleep will have a huge negative impact on your ability to concentrate, therefore be very careful in the gym. Without proper concentration, you won’t be able to pay attention to the technique of the following exercise and increase the risk of injury.
How to maximize the anabolic effect of sleep
Take into account the following tips:
- change the environment you sleep in;
- use effective nutritional supplements.
- use a proper mattress
Increasing the anabolic effect of sleep means increasing its quality and quantity respectively.
The quality of sleep is more important than its quantity, and any person who is constantly awakened by something will confirm it to you. In order to achieve the highest anabolic effect, the sleep must be deep.
The environment you sleep in has a huge impact on how easily you fall asleep and how you actually sleep. Nowadays, many people find it hard to fall asleep because they are surrounded by too much light and noise.
Although it’s almost impossible to create a completely dark and quiet environment, you should try to get as close as possible.
As already mentioned, the sleep phases change according to the time of day. In the morning, when the light level rises, you wake up. In the evening, when the light level drops, you begin to relax. This is mainly due to melatonin.
Scientific studies have shown that melatonin stimulates sleep, and light reduces the level of melatonin in the human body. In other words, if there is too much light in the place you sleep, the release of these hormones in your body will be reduced, which means it will be harder for you to fall asleep.
Noise also affects your ability to sleep. Even though your brain can fall asleep if there’s some noise, it continues to perceive sounds. Noise can wake you up in the middle of the night, even when you are in the deepest and most useful phase of sleep.
So do everything you can to protect yourself from light and noise during your sleep. By doing that, you can sleep without waking up until morning.
What to do before going to bed
What you do in the evening has a huge impact on your sleep. Follow these tips to increase its anabolic effect:
- Follow your daily routine and always go to bed at the same time.
- Don’t do any physical activities several hours before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol several hours before bedtime.
- Don’t eat too much overnight.
Sleep is essential for muscle regeneration and growth. It can also be the most important period for anabolism during the day. But the trick is that sleep can also cause catabolism.
The best way to increase its anabolic effect is to improve the sleep conditions, maintain a good sleep throughout the night, and stimulate anabolism during the recovery period.