Saturday, January 14, 2012

4 Reasons Why Sleep Deprivation Will Inhibit Your Muscle Gains

It may seem like a trivial issue that could be easily overlooked, but giving your body a proper sleep every night really is an important step in setting the wheels for maximum muscle growth into motion.

If you really want to see the most dramatic changes in your body over the shortest period of time possible, a restful, quality sleep every single night is a must.

What makes a proper sleep so important?

Well, let's simply take a look at what happens when you DON'T get a proper sleep each night…


1) Mental focus will decline.

One of the biggest problems with sleep deprivation is the effect that it will have on your mental state. Studies have shown that just a single night with insufficient rest will have a significant negative impact on your mental focus and willingness to perform difficult tasks.

Putting forth an all-out effort every time you enter the gym is one of the primary keys to building muscle fast, and in order to do so you must remain mentally sharp at all times.


2) Physical performance will suffer.


Not only will sleep deprivation have a negative impact on your state of mind, but it will also have physical consequences as well. Without a proper sleep, your strength levels will decrease and you'll end up using less weight and/or performing fewer reps than you would normally be capable of.

Your bottom line muscle gains are ultimately determined by the steady increases in poundage that you are able to make on all of your exercises, and keeping your strength at top levels is critical in achieving this as quickly as possible.


3) Recovery will be interrupted.

As you are probably already aware, your muscles do not actually grow while you are IN the gym. Rather, they grow while you are OUT of the gym eating and resting.

The time that you spend sleeping is one of the primary periods where the recovery and remodeling of damaged muscle tissue takes place. Not only do your muscles require recovery time, but your central nervous system, joints and immune system need rest too.


4) Hormone levels will be compromised.


Depriving your body of sleep will have a negative impact on some of the most important muscle building and fat burning hormones circulating in your body. I'm talking specifically about cortisol, testosterone, growth hormone and insulin.

Simply put, sleep deprivation has a negative impact on every single one of them...

a) Cortisol - A catabolic stress hormone that increases abdominal fat storage and stimulates the breakdown of muscle tissue for use as energy.

Studies have shown that insufficient sleep will cause the body to release higher amounts of this hormone.

b) Testosterone
- The most important hormone when it comes to building muscle. The higher your levels of testosterone, the more muscle you can build.

Sleep deprivation measurably lowers testosterone levels.

c) Growth Hormone -
Regenerates the body and plays a large role in building and maintaining muscle.

The time that you sleep is also the time when your body experiences a natural surge in growth hormone levels. If you fail to get a proper rest at night this hormonal surge will be compromised.

d) Insulin - Responsible for the uptake of important nutrients into your body cells.

Sleep deprivation can result in an increase in your body's insulin resistance levels. This means that your body will have to release higher-than-normal amounts of this hormone to compensate. This can lead to excess fat storage, diabetes or heart disease.


So, just how much sleep is enough?

As with most things, it's certainly an individual factor and varies from person to person. As a general guideline though, I would recommend that everyone out there strive to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every single night. If you feel that you require more than that, sleep for 9 hours or for even longer if you need to.

The bottom line is to get enough sleep each night so that you feel 100% rested and energized throughout the day. If you regularly feel fatigued and sluggish, then increasing your sleeping time is a must.

In terms of building muscle size and strength, proper amounts of sleep will:

- Increase your mental focus and energy
- Improve your strength
- Allow for proper recovery in between workouts
- Lower cortisol levels
- Increase testosterone
- Raise growth hormone levels
- Decrease insulin resistance

That should be plenty of incentive right there to start paying close attention to how much sleep you're getting each night.

See you in the morning!

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