Monday, 30th October 2017

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Sleep key to muscle

A major factor behind a strong body that is often overlooked

  • Published 6.02.20, 7:56 PM
  • Updated 6.02.20, 7:56 PM
  • a min read
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When we sleep, our bodies are flooded with muscle-building, or anabolic, hormones Shutterstock

During the day, all goes well. You hit the gym and keep an eye on what you are eating. Then you get busy at night with going out and meeting people and lose out on sleep.

Don’t. Because you need sleep.

Invest in sleep as much as in your diet and exercise if you are trying to build muscle.

“Diet, exercise and sleep are the pillars of health and the key to building muscle,” says Kasey Nichols, NMD, a doctor of naturopathic medicine who specialises in sleep disorders. “Without one of these pillars, your muscle-building routine will be suboptimal at best and permanently damaging at worst.”

Why sleep is important

When we sleep, our bodies are flooded with muscle-building, or anabolic, hormones including insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and testosterone, which help build and repair the damage or soothe the strain that follows a strenuous strength-training session, Nichols says.

Missing sleep or not getting enough disrupts the amount and timing of anabolic hormone secretion, which means that you will not get the growth and strength increases you work so hard for at the gym, Nichols adds.

A December 2017 study of over 10,000 people in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions says that good sleep quality is associated with greater muscle strength and sleeping for less than six hours a night may lead to decreased muscle strength.

The study says that the number of hours you sleep is important, but the quality of sleep you’re getting each night matters just as much.