You've got the perfect workout routine down... you're moving heavy weight, got the precise split that makes the best of your training regimen. Check.
You've got the perfect diet and nutrition timing down... you're eating clean throughout the day, got your post workout shake--Heck even a few schedule cheat meals in to stimulate that metabolism. Check.
You've got the perfect supplementation down... you know when the pre-workouts going to kick in, you have your multivitamins, fish oils, BCAAs, and the perfect protein powder (100% Chocolate Beast Whey
, yum!). Check.
You're training hard, eating well, and supplementing smart... so why aren't you achieving your goals if everything is in the right place?
Well... let's sleep on it-- literally.
Sleep is important, and if you aren't taking it as seriously as your training, diet, or supplementation, then you're just short-changing yourself in your aspirations! So why is sleep so important? Because during sleep, it rests your BRAIN as well as your BODY!
REST YOUR BRAIN.
For one, it rests the brain for the next day. Having a full night's sleep allows you to be increase your response to being awake as well your mental alertness-- especially important when it comes to training. Having the feeling of rejuvenation and being mentally prepared well have you ready for your next training session, whether it be underneath the heavy weight of a squat bar or ready for another HIIT cardio session. Having a good night's sleep will provide you an efficient and effective mindset to get work done in the gym. Again, your mental alertness and stamina will be on point, putting you a step ahead of your workout before you even get into the gym.
REST YOUR BODY.
Secondly, during sleep is your body gets a chance to repair and rebuild the muscle tissue that you've broken down without worrying about mundane everyday activity getting in the way. Research shows that while you sleep, protein synthesis is increased as well as the secretion of human growth hormone, or HGH, and it's circulated through the body to enhance muscular recovery. Studies have also shown that a good night's sleep lowers cortisol levels and levels of testosterone are higher.
So how much sleep do you need?
This is all on an individual basis-- I can run off of 6 hours of sleep because my body is used to it, but it can range 5 or 6 hours to an average of 8 hours to some professional bodybuilders and powerlifters sleeping for 10 to 12 hours. I'd say on a minimum, 6 hours of sleep is needed for optimal muscle growth. If you need more, take it, but make it routine-- don't use sleep as a crutch, use it as a tool to help you achieve your goals. I'm willing to bet if you start tracking your sleep and try to get 6-8 hours of solid sleep and recovery rest, your gains and goals will improve drastically!
Danny Quach is a senior at the University of Georgia
and he’s studying Health Promotion and Behavior. He’s a powerlifter at heart and has done it for over six years. He just competed in his first bodybuilding show in Summer of 2011. For powerlifting, he holds some Georgia records. In his first bodybuilding competition, he placed 2nd
in Novice in INBF Southern States. On his spare time he’s a part of the University of Georgia’s cheerleading co-ed squads; his favorite past-time? Throwing girls around and catching them.