Looking to get more out of your workouts? Sure, proper training regimen and diet are both key aspects, but what about sleep? Often disregarded, sleep is the solution to many people’s muscle building problems. Believe it or not, no matter how good your diet, and post workout shake are, recovery will be greatly hindered without the correct amount of sleep.
Though the second you leave the gym your muscles slowly begin to recover, sleep is an extremely important factor in assuring the recovery is complete, and done properly. Things like your post-workout shake, and post-workout meal also help with recovery, but no supplement or food can make up for hours of rest.
Sleep is the best possible rest for your body. While asleep, your body enters and exits many different stages. To be precise, there are 5 different stages of sleep you’re bound to encounter during an average night of sleep. Here is a list of the 5 stages, what they’re all about, and which will most benefit your body!
Stage 1 is a relatively light sleep. In general, it’ll last a maximum of 10 minutes, and occurs when you’re transitioning from being awake, to falling asleep. This does your body no good, and if awoken after these 10 minutes, you’ll have no more rest than 10 minutes before.
Stage 2 is when you really begin to relax. Things like body temperature regulate, and your heart rate begins to slow.
Stage 3 is key, because it’s the transition from light to deep sleep, which is what you’re going for!
Stage 4 is where the muscle building happens! Sometimes it’s called delta sleep, because those are the types of waves occurring in your brain during this stage. It’s when your growth hormones (GH) take action, and protein synthesis really begins.
Stage 5 is known as REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. Your muscles are relaxed, but your brain is going
crazy! This stage is when all the dreaming goes down!
Let’s just say you want to maximize the amount of time you spend in stage 4, as this is where all the good stuff happens. It gives your muscles the greatest chance for recovery. The only time you don’t want to be in stage 4 is the morning. Waking up can be extremely difficult, and will often leave you groggy, which hinders your performance in the gym. Dr. David Ryan recommends you sleep 4.5, 6, 7.5, or 9 hours every night, so you can avoid waking up in stage 4, but maximize the time spent in a deep sleep throughout the night. This doesn’t mean you should follow this, just play with your sleep times, and see what works best for you!
In the future, give sleep a bump up on your priority list, because it could be the ingredient you’re missing to achieve your dream body. Change it up, find what works, and let us know about the results!