Sleep & Bodybuilding

July 12th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Bodybuilders are so caught up making sure their diet is to a “T” and their workouts are never missed. Getting a good quality sleep however, is just as important for bodybuilding.

Benefits of Sleep:

The average american only gets 7 hours of sleep according to a recent study. According to a recent study done on men 18 to 27, glucose metabolism dropped 30-40% and had increased levels of cortisol. High levels of cortisol can lead to insulin resistance, fat, muscle breakdown, more difficult athletic recovery, and other effects. The lowering of glucose metabolism normally seen in ederly led researches to speculate that prolonged sleep deprivation can increase aging.

Improving sleep improves bodybuilding gains:

The body releases human growth hormone during sleep. Although the biggest spike is after you fall asleep, you will continue to release GH in bursts throughout sleep. Getting a good nights sleep without any interruptions will help make sure you get adequate GH released.

As you can see from the earlier study, sleep deprivation causes cortisol to rise. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone and works in the opposite fashion of testosterone, an anabolic muscle building hormone. The higher cortisol levels and other effects on the body shown by this study shows it is necessary to get quality sleep every night or it will greatly effect your ability to gain muscle or lose fat.

How much sleep do bodybuilders need?

Everyone seems to have slightly different requirements. Age, genetics, and lifestyle play a role. Generally a bodybuilder should aim for at least 8 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Any supplements to help improve sleep?

ZMA is effective in improving sleep. If you are already slightly deficient in zinc the effects will be more profound. You can get the same effect by taking a zinc supplement pill. Melatonin supplements are another option, although I would caution against long term use of them.

  1. Ali on January 26th, 2011

    i m a struggling job is very hard ,i have to stand for about 14 hours and work very hard..hardly i m getting out 24 hrs,6 or maximum 7 hour sleep everyday.does it effect if i continue my bodybuilding.?