Sleep has got to be one of the most discussed and studied topics in the world. After all, it is vital to stay alive, let alone needed to function fully each day. For athletes and body-builders, it is critical that they get enough sleep, otherwise, they would miss out on performing at their full capacity.
Believe it or not, lack of sleep can not only hinder muscle growth but can also reduce your muscle mass. So, if you think that increasing the number of exercises you do each week or spending more time at the gym will build more muscles, then you might want to re-think that thought.
Is 4 Hours of Sleep Enough to Build Muscle?
4 hours of sleep is not enough for the body to recover from exercise and build muscle. Ideally, you should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, especially after a workout. Sleep is critical for the production of muscle glycogen, which is later used for energy. When we lack sleep, we limit this production.
What Does Sleep Have to Do With Muscles?
If you’ve ever stayed up all night, you probably found it hard to do things the next day. At the very least, you struggled to muster the energy you would normally have. If you’re an athlete or play sports, imagine feeling this way before a crucial game. It doesn’t look good, does it?
This is what our body goes through every time we don’t get any sleep. If you do get some sleep but not enough, your body will still feel this way. Although it may not be as bad as when you don’t get any sleep, these feelings or symptoms will build up if you continually don’t get enough. This then results in your performance gradually lessening each day.
Whether you’re a body-builder or an athlete, muscle strength is important. To have the power to achieve something more or better than last time is always their goal. Even if you’re just focused on the aesthetic side of muscles, to grow in muscle mass still means to grow in strength. This full potential, unfortunately, can’t be reached if you lack sleep. If you feel like your hard work hasn’t been paying off lately, then you probably know why now.
What Happens to Our Muscles When We Sleep?
Thankfully, many gym junkies and professional athletes know or are aware of what glucose is. Glucose is a type of sugar and is the only type that our muscles can use for energy. When we consume sugar, our body has to break this down into glucose because without it, our muscle cells won’t be able to activate.
While we’re asleep, glucose in the blood is stored in the muscles to become muscle glycogen. Using muscle glycogen produces more energy than using the glucose in our blood, so if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re reducing the replenishment of muscle glycogen. This means that you’re limiting your capacity for energy output the next day.
Another negative effect of not getting enough sleep is the reduction of Human Growth Hormone. This is a type of hormone that the body produces for multiple functions, one being muscle recovery and growth. Our body needs this hormone to use the amino acids found in the protein we consume. Amino acids are then used to build or repair muscles.
Although this hormone is produced daily, it is actually produced in higher dosage during sleep of up to 75% more! This is something you definitely want to utilize if you’re serious about wanting to build or develop your muscles.
Tips to Help You Get Proper Sleep
There are many ways or methods that can help you get a good night’s rest. These that I’ll mention are just a few to help you get started on making sure you get the most of your exercise regime without having to spend more time getting your sweat on.
1. Have a set sleeping schedule
If you are the type of person who doesn’t like things to be set or think that having something set makes you feel uptight, then you should probably learn to get over that. For everything in life, there needs to be a sacrifice. Sometimes you really do have to let go of one thing to get another. Whether you like it or not, you need to set aside your pride and start practicing this scientifically proven method if you want to get the most of your hard earned efforts.
Having a set sleeping pattern will help your body get used to functioning more smoothly and properly. Giving your body the time to do its thing will lead you to perform with the same amount of energy and vigor each day, which you can use to your advantage in reaching your full potential. Nobody likes to feel tired or lethargic when they have a game ahead or want to hit the gym.
2. Avoid activities before bed
This one is a simple tip. If you have children, I’m sure you already get what I’m trying to say. Obviously, when you’re active, your body is going to be busy producing energy. It will always take time for the body to settle down, so if you perform any kind of active activity or chores a few hours before your bedtime, your brain is going to have trouble calming down straight away.
It’s been proven that people who read before bed sleep better and fall asleep quicker than those who don’t. Of course, there are other relaxing or non-active things you could do before bed, such as watching Netflix or listening to how your partner’s day was.
3. Drink a protein shake before bed
This tip is a little more on the serious side of muscle building. Despite the body producing more Human Growth Hormone during sleep mode, it still takes time for it to break down protein into amino acids. Of course, this is totally fine if you allow yourself that full 8 hours of sleep.
However, if you do want to get more from your sleep and go that extra mile, then having a protein shake before bed is very beneficial. Protein shakes are generally composed of protein that is much easier to break down, which means you can speed up the recovery and growth of your muscles. This is ideal if you love to exercise or workout in the afternoon or evenings.
It is common to overlook the power of sleep and a lack thereof can even affect other aspects of our lives. One worth mentioning is our attitude. If we regularly lose some critical shut-eye, we increase the chance to have mood swings. These abrupt and sometimes unpredictable feelings can absolutely define how we approach things. The wise phrase often heard in movies, “Get your head in the game”, could not be any more correct if applied in real life.
If people understood what sleep does for the body and how it can affect it positively, then the fields and gyms would be filled with more happy individuals. These easy tips will certainly make a significant difference in your muscle development and your overall health.
Conclusion – Is 4 Hours of Sleep Enough to Build Muscle?
Just like how diet can play a huge role in getting fit and healthy, sleep can also have a large impact in this regard. Poor sleep means poor energy and poor energy can result in poor performance. Your lack of effort can even end in poor attitude, which is probably the worse factor that can negatively affect your performance.
Is 4 hours of sleep enough to build muscle? Whether it’s 3 or 5, the answer will be no. Sure, you might feel good for a while or won’t notice any changes. Sooner or later, however, if you realized what you could have been capable of with sufficient sleep, then you would not hesitate to make this a part of your daily exercise routine.