Perhaps you’ve been sweating it out at the gym and eating the right kind of food. But you don’t seem to be gaining muscles or noticing any results. Chances are, you are not getting enough rest or sleep.
To increase your muscle mass, you need to train and work hard. But you also need to get enough rest and sleep after every workout. Body building is not just about going to the gym, it’s also about hitting the sack!
What Happens if You Don’t Sleep Enough?
What happens if you don’t get enough sleep? There are three major things that could happen:
- You will get fatter.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolic processes will slow down. You will also feel hungry more often and crave for something to eat. This combination can only result in one thing: more fat!
- You will burn muscle instead of fat.
If you are dieting but sleeping for just three or four hours at night, then you are in danger. Not only will your body burn less fat, but it will also burn more muscle. So instead of losing fat, you are losing muscles instead.
- You cannot perform at your best.
Do you remember the last time you got drunk? That is how it feels to be sleep deprived. You cannot think clearly and you cannot move as well as you should.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you are not able to run as fast or throw as far. In other words, the lack of sleep will affect your athletic skills. In other words, your body is not at its best.
Importance of Sleep for BodyBuilders
Now that you know the major effects of lack of sleep, let us focus more on its role in bodybuilding. Sleep affects your body in four major ways: production of cortisol, fourth stage of sleep, storage of glycogen, and human growth hormone.
- Production of Cortisol
Whenever you perform intensive exercises, your body produces the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can work against the other hormones in your body. It counters the human growth hormone, testosterone, and other hormones that you need for muscle-building.
Your body needs sleep to keep your cortisol level in check. Otherwise, the level of cortisol in your body will increase. In turn, this will hinder your muscle-building progress.
- Fourth Stage of Sleep
When we sleep, we go through different stages. The fourth stage is the period when our body produces the greatest amount of muscle-building hormones. This stage is also known as “delta wave” sleep.
To make sure that you reach the delta wave stage, you need to sleep for about six to eight hours each night. This way, you can complete your sleep cycle and wake up feeling light and refreshed. Otherwise, you will feel groggy upon waking up and you will not be at your best during the day.
- Storage of Glycogen
Whenever you eat high-carb foods, your body stores glucose in the form of glycogen. Your body stores glycogen and transforms it into energy when you need it. But if you don’t get enough sleep, your body will not be able to store glycogen as well as it should.
What happens when your storage of glycogen is affected? You will find that you will get tired more easily during your next training session. Moreover, your body will end up producing more cortisol in the process.
- Human Growth Hormone
One of the most important hormones in our body is the human growth hormone or HGH. After a good night’s sleep, the HGH levels in your body is at its peak. The sustained level of this hormone will promote the growth of muscles.
If you do not get enough rest or sleep, you will not be able to sustain a high amount of HGH. In turn, this will counter any muscle-building process that you have so far.
Build Muscles as You Sleep
Muscle-building does not happen when you are sweating it out at the gym. It also takes place when you are fast asleep and resting in your pajamas. If are serious about gaining more muscle mass, then you should also be serious about getting enough sleep.
When you are sleep-deprived, your body will not be at its best. You will get tired more easily and you will find it harder to finish your workouts. For best results, make sure that you are getting enough sleep each night.