Who would think that sleeping (aka doing nothing) could produce such effective muscle-building results?
Well, it does.
The reality is that sleep alongside recovery are two of the most critical and often neglected areas that people fail to do when trying to build muscle.
If your sleep sucks, you’re not only missing out on gains, but you're also likely to lose lots of the hard-earned muscle tissue which you’ve spent hours in the gym building. I’m guessing you want to avoid this?
Why you should read on…
In this article, I'm going to tell you why sleep is essential, but more importantly, I’m going to tell you how to improve your sleep immediately (from this evening onwards). This will mean that you can build more muscle, have more energy, and lead a more exceptional quality of life.
Why Is Sleep Important?
When you sleep, your body heals, it heals physically but also mentally too. We all need to sleep so that we can recharge and go again.
Bodybuilders and those looking to build muscle need it more than the regular person because building muscle doesn't come easy.
As the saying goes “you don’t grow in the gym.”
Yes, you stimulate muscle growth in the gym, but the real growth comes in how you recover:
- Nutrition (protein, carbs, fats)
- Sleep (8 hours per night)
- Recovery (mobility, stretching, foam rolling, sauna, massages, etc.)
Muscle Building Benefits Of Sleep…
If you want to improve protein synthesis and boost your workout performance/concentration in the gym, then one of the best (if not the best) thing you can do is improve your sleep.
Ideally, you want to be getting 8 hours of quality sleep each night (at the very minimum 7 hours) - anything less than this, and your performance and recovery aren't going to be optimal.
All top bodybuilders and physique athletes realise how important sleep is - so if you want to boost your muscle hypertrophy training and develop an impressive head-turning physique...
It’s wise to follow in the footsteps of the greats.
How To Improve Your Sleep & Muscle Gains | 8 Sleep Tips…
So, how do I improve my sleep?
There are lots of things you can do to improve your sleep. Here are what I would consider the eight most important:
#1 Create A Set Sleep Schedule
Creating a set sleep schedule is essential. This is where you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time seven days per week. For example, going to sleep at 10pm and waking up at 6pm. Most people will follow this pattern during the working week, but then sleep in on the weekend, which is the worst thing you can do. Stick to the same sleep schedule (seven days per week) as best as you can.
#2 Lower Caffeine
According to Nick Screeton, a personal trainer in Sheffield and founder of LEP Fitness - one of the best ways to improve your sleep is to back off the stimulants. You don’t have to stop caffeine altogether, but it’s wise to pull back and consume less, especially after 2pm". The more caffeine you consume, the less likely you’ll be able to sleep.
#3 Improve Your Sleep Environment
Make your bedroom as dark as possible, turn it into a cave if you can. Blackout blinds are ideal, but if you don’t want to spend much, you can buy a sleeping mask. The darker your bedroom, the better. You also want to make the room temperature between 20-22 degrees - which is the ideal temperature for perfect sleep. Alongside darkness and temperature, it’s also wise to leave all electrical devices out of the bedroom (TV, phone, laptop, etc.)
#4 Avoid blue light before bed
Blue light from the TV, computer, and your phone keeps your mind stimulated and body awake. It is not ideal if you want a good night's sleep and recover from the brutal leg workout you did earlier in the day. Instead, turn off all of your blue light-emitting devices at least 1 hour before bed. I would also recommend buying some blue light blocking glasses.
#5 Take a bath
Taking a bath before bed (especially with magnesium salts) will do wonders for your muscle recovery, strength, and sleep. I would recommend letting your muscles soak for 20 minutes each night before going to bed.
#6 Foam Roll and stretch
At the end of the day, it’s normal for your muscles to feel tensed. You’ve worked out, and you may be stressed from work. One of the best ways to calm your body in the evening is to do some recovery techniques such as foam rolling and stretching. Just 10 minutes is enough for most to relax and improve recovery and sleep.
#7 Switch Off From Stress
Avoid things in the evening that elicit a flight or fight response - emails, social media, and anything on TV which causes you to tense up. Instead, try and do things that will put your body into a relaxed state. Ideas include watching something light-hearted on TV, or a comedy - laughing puts you in a relaxed and feel-good state. Switch off your phone from 8pm and make a commitment to yourself not to check any more work emails.
#8 MeditateMore and more bodybuilders are meditating and for a good reason too… it helps you get out of fight or flight mode and put you into a parasympathetic state (relax and digest mode). When you meditate at night, not only will you improve your sleep, but it will also improve your digestion which, as you know, is a crucial component to building muscle.
I can guarantee that if you apply these 8 tips, your sleep will improve immediately. Here's to happy sleeping and muscle building.