6 Ways To Get Better Sleep For Muscle Recovery (2023)

The importance of sleep is not a new concept. Its importance, in fact, has been written about and talked about for over 100 years. As our health improves we become better athletes and as athletes get better; we can train more consistently and intensely which will ultimately lead to better results.

What's so important about sleep? Well, first of all, it's essential for muscle recovery; without adequate rest and proper nutrition, you can train all day long but won't make any gains. It's important for muscle growth and recovery.

It's no secret that sleep is critical in training and overall health, but it can be hard to know how much sleep you need and when. In this post, we'll be talking about the importance of s

leep and how much you should be getting. In addition, we'll also be going over why sleep is critical for muscle growth and recovery.

6 Ways To Get Better Sleep For Muscle Recovery (1)

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

This question has been asked and answered for decades. There are still conflicting opinions on how much sleep you need each night. The National Sleep Foundation has given guidance for the optimal amount of hours to sleep in a night. Generally, most adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of restful sleep a night.

Shooting for 7-9 hours of sleep each night is a great goal to have, but your personal sleep needs may be different based on your lifestyle. Some might need more or less. For example: if you're training multiple times a day and working long hours outside of the gym then you may require more rest.

(Video) How Sleep Affects Your Gains (And How To Get More Of It!)

Why Sleep is Important for Muscle Recovery

We all know that sleep is important, but how important is it really for our muscles' recovery? Well, the importance of sleep is so critical, in fact, that it has a direct effect on the most important part of muscle recovery: insulin. Insulin's role is to shuttle amino acids into cells to be used for protein synthesis and storage.

An article written by Dr. Portman mentions, "that it's not growth hormone or some mystery anabolic agent. I am talking about insulin, the body's ultimate recovery mediator."

You also release more growth hormone (GH) during sleep than you do at any other time. GH is a vital part of muscle repair, so if your sleep is disturbed the amount of GH released while you're sleeping drops significantly.

Researchers have suggested that reductions in sleep duration may inhibit muscle growth and recovery and lead to a catabolic environment. Catabolic environment means that your body is breaking down or losing overall mass.

Sleep Deprivation and Muscle Recovery

Not getting enough sleep will backfire on you since it will make your body more catabolic and will also delay muscle growth, especially if you're using a high-intensity training style such as lifting heavyweights.

(Video) How Important is Sleep for Building Muscle?

Your body will produce less protein than it otherwise would. That's why you need to sleep for at least 7 hours a night if you want your muscles to grow properly and quickly.

Not getting a lot of sleep decreases the activity of protein synthesis pathways and increases the activity of degradation pathways, which favors muscle loss. This hinders recovery after muscle damage induced by exercise, injuries, or certain conditions associated with muscle breakdown.

6 Ways To Get Better Sleep For Muscle Recovery (2)6 Ways To Get Better Sleep

If you're not getting enough sleep, we've created a list of things you can do to improve your ability to fall and remain asleep.

1. Turn Off Everything

Make sure your sleeping environment is dark, quiet, and cool. Remove electronics from the bedroom.

2. Go To Sleep Earlier

Get a full night's sleep. If you're only getting five or six hours of sleep each night, try to get more by going to bed earlier and setting an alarm to wake up at the same time every morning. Consistency is key!

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3. Turn Your Phones Off

Avoid using electronics at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Electronics emit a type of light that can disrupt the natural rhythm of your body, and sleep experts suggest using electronics as little as possible in general.

4. Exercise regularly

Exercise is a good way to get your body into sleep mode so that you can fall asleep easier at night.

5. Drink a Cup of Herbal Tea Before Bed

Green tea and chamomile are both good choices for relaxing you enough to get some sleep but not so much that they will keep you up all night.

6. Don't Consume Caffeine Too Late

Caffeine is a stimulant, and it can be tough to get to sleep when your body thinks it's supposed to be awake. So try and avoid caffeine after lunch!


You may not be getting enough sleep, and that's why you're struggling to build muscle. Sleep is crucial for recovering from workouts and if you aren't sleeping well then your muscles can't repair themselves properly after a hard workout.

(Video) The Impact Sleep Has on Muscle Gain


Sleep helps muscles release protein-building amino acids into the bloodstream at an increased rate which helps them grow bigger and stronger over time.

Sleep helps to release growth hormones during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which helps with muscle repair.

You also release several healing substances while you sleep that keep your muscles healthy.


Yang, Deng-Fa et al. “Sleep deprivation reduces the recovery of muscle injury induced by high-intensity exercise in a mouse model.” Life sciences vol. 235 (2019): 116835. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2019.116835

Watson, Nathaniel F et al. “Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society.” Sleepvol. 38,6 843-4. 1 Jun. 2015, doi:10.5665/sleep.4716

(Video) 11 Tips To Sleep Better For More Muscle Growth! GET BIGGER WHILE YOU SLEEP!

Dattilo, M et al. “Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis.” Medical hypotheses vol. 77,2 (2011): 220-2. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2011.04.017


How can I sleep better for muscle recovery? ›

11 Tips To Sleep Better For More Strength & Muscle Growth!
  1. Stay Away From Electronics Around Bedtime. ...
  2. Don't Exercise Too Close To Bedtime. ...
  3. Keep Your Room As Dark As Possible. ...
  4. Get Exposed To Light As Soon As You Wake-Up. ...
  5. Stop Smoking. ...
  6. No Caffeine At Night. ...
  7. Take Melatonin. ...
  8. Once You Wake-Up, Do Not Go Back To Sleep.
Mar 1, 2018

Can your muscles recover with 6 hours of sleep? ›

Is 6 hours of sleep enough to build muscle? No way. You should try to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night in order to maximize muscle growth and support your health. And no, napping can't be considered a replacement for nighttime sleep.

Is 7 hours of sleep enough for muscle recovery? ›

Sleeping for 7-9 hours per night is crucial, especially if you are looking to change body composition, increase muscle mass and/or if you want to be ready for your personal training session the next day. Sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release.

What type of sleep is best for recovery? ›

The most important sleep stage is Stage 3, Non-REM or, Delta (Slow Wave) Sleep, it takes up 25% of our total sleep cycle, and it's known as the 'deepest' period of sleep. It's in Stage 3 that sleep is at its most restorative, helping our bodies heal themselves and our minds rest.

Do muscles heal faster sleeping? ›

As you fall into the deeper stages of sleep, your muscles will see an increase in blood flow, which brings along oxygen and nutrients that that help recover and repair muscles and regenerate cells.

Will a lack of sleep hurt muscle repair? ›

Purpose: Sleep is considered essential for muscle recovery, mainly due to its effect on hormone secretion. Total sleep deprivation or restriction is known to alter not only blood hormones but also cytokines that might be related to skeletal muscle recovery.

Can I grow muscle with 5 hours of sleep? ›

Sleep Deprivation and Muscle Recovery

Your body will produce less protein than it otherwise would. That's why you need to sleep for at least 7 hours a night if you want your muscles to grow properly and quickly.

Will one night of no sleep affect gains? ›

Acute sleep deprivation decreases muscle protein synthesis. One night of sleep deprivation significantly reduced postprandial skeletal muscle protein synthesis in a population of healthy young adults.

Does napping build muscle? ›

Taking a nap after exercise can support muscle recovery. When you sleep, your pituitary gland releases growth hormone. Your muscles need this hormone to repair and build tissue. This is essential for muscle growth, athletic performance, and reaping the benefits of physical activity.

Do muscles grow on rest days? ›

Downtime between workouts (whether you're lifting, doing cardio or training for a sport) is when our bodies have a chance to actually build muscle. Strenuous workouts cause muscle breakdown, while rest allows our bodies to build it back up.

Do muscles heal while awake? ›


What time does the body repair itself? ›

Between the times of 10:00 pm and 2:00 am the body goes through a dramatic process of physical repair. Between roughly 2:00 am and 6:00 am the body will go through a process of psychological repair. A disrupted sleep pattern will cause the Cortisol to elevate and negatively affect the regenerative process.

Why is it important to sleep between 10pm and 2am? ›

Between 10pm-2am is where humans get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery. Our stress glands (adrenals) rest and recharge the most between 11pm and 1am and melatonin production is highest 10pm to 2am. Regulate your circadian rhythms by going to bed at the same time each night.

What hours of sleep are the most restorative? ›

“The pre-midnight sleep seems to bring about the most powerful repair to the brain and body,” she says. “It sets the body into a good rhythm thereafter.

How much sleep do you need to fully recover? ›

Research has shown that it can take up to four days to recover from one hour of lost sleep and up to nine days to completely eliminate sleep debt.

Is 7pm too early for bed? ›

No. It is considered a Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder. While many people have different sleep patterns due, primarily, to off shift work requirements, what is considered 'normal' requires sleeping at more typical times such as 11:00PM to 7:00 AM.

What position should I sleep in for muscle pain? ›

If you suffer from muscular pain, the best sleep position will really depend on where your pain is concentrated. Generally speaking, though, lying on your back or side is preferable. You'll notice that, regardless of where your aches and pains are concentrated, it is not advised that you sleep on your front.

Do Sore muscles need more sleep? ›

Accumulating evidence demonstrates that sleep extension improved performance, pain sensitivity and GH/IGF-I anabolic responses, which may be beneficial in accelerating recovery from muscle injuries.

Why do I wake up sore and stiff every morning? ›

Scientists have discovered that we wake up stiff and achy because our body's natural ibuprofen has not kicked in yet. As day darkens into night, the circadian clocks in joint tissue suppress inflammation and also the body's production of anti-inflammatory proteins, our natural pain-dampeners.

What stage of sleep do you build muscle? ›

“During the deepest stage of NREM sleep, the pituitary gland secretes about 70 percent of the hGH it makes, which stimulates tissue growth and helps repair muscles from both exercise and normal daily wear and tear.” HGH has also been shown to help heal damage to tendons and ligaments by synthesizing collagen.

How much sleep do you need by age? ›

How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Age GroupRecommended Hours of Sleep Per Day
Newborn0–3 months14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1 No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
Teen13–18 years8–10 hours per 24 hours2
Adult18–60 years7 or more hours per night3
61–64 years7–9 hours1
5 more rows
Sep 14, 2022

Does sleeping position affect muscle? ›

Even when an individual uses the most comfortable pillow, neck muscle activity may differ according to the habitual sleep posture. Therefore, this study suggests that the correct sleep posture is important to prevent musculoskeletal pain of the neck and shoulders.

What causes muscle loss? ›

Muscle atrophy can occur due to malnutrition, age, genetics, a lack of physical activity or certain medical conditions. Disuse (physiologic) atrophy occurs when you don't use your muscles enough. Neurogenic atrophy occurs due to nerve problems or diseases.

How much sleep do bodybuilders need? ›

There's no point in doing hardcore workouts if you're consistently getting less than 6-hours of sleep per night. 8-hours is ideal, while 9-10 hours is even better. Remember, you can use mid-day naps to boost your overall sleeping time and that may actually be more beneficial than getting all of your sleep overnight.

Will less sleep make you fat? ›

Poor Sleep Is a Major Risk Factor for Weight Gain and Obesity. People's sleep requirements vary, but research has observed changes in weight when people get fewer than 7 hours of quality sleep a night. Poor quality sleep has repeatedly been linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain.

Does drinking milk before bed help build muscle? ›

Not only is milk a great source of whey protein, it also contains a slower-digesting protein called casein, which many serious athletes like to take in before bed to build muscle during sleep.

Does sleeping late affect muscle growth? ›

Poor sleep quality and short sleep duration are associated with an increased risk for muscle mass reduction. Thus, they may also influence muscle strength.

Do muscles grow at night? ›

We found that the expression of MuRF genes peaks at night. Pharmacological inhibition of protein degradation led to an increase in muscle growth specifically at night. These results indicate that muscle anabolism and catabolism are more active in the day and at night, respectively.

Is 6 hours of sleep enough before gym? ›

If You Got Enough Sleep Last Night: Sweat

If you got seven to eight hours of sleep the night before, you're good to hit the gym, says Fable. Seven to nine hours of sleep is what most adults need, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Is 6 hours of sleep enough for athletes? ›

How much sleep do athletes need? Pro athletes typically need more than most—it's recommended that they get 8-10 hours every night. But for the average adult, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night to avoid the effects of chronic sleep deprivation.

Is 6.5 hours of sleep good? ›

(The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for adults.)

How much sleep do I need to recover from workout? ›

For every two hours of time an athlete spends awake and stressed, it takes one hour of sleep to recover. This means that if an athlete is awake and under stress 16 hours a day, at least 8 hours of sleep are required for the CNS to recover from the overload.

Do you need less sleep if you are fit? ›

Exercising also improves sleep for many people. Specifically, moderate-to-vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing sleep onset – or the time it takes to fall asleep – and decrease the amount of time they lie awake in bed during the night.

Should I workout if I'm tired at night? ›

You're sleep deprived

Exercising when you're running on empty also increases your risk of injury. So if you're exhausted, the best thing you can do for your body is to get a good night of rest and get back in the gym the next day.

Should I go to the gym if I barely slept the night before? ›

Should I Work Out on No Sleep? The short answer is no — it's not a good idea. Lack of sleep can adversely affect exercise form, concentration, performance, and muscle growth, according to Dr. Robert S.

How much sleep do d1 athletes need? ›

While seven hours is considered the minimum amount of sleep a typical adult should get, college students – especially highly active ones, like athletes – need at least eight to nine hours for optimal functioning, Grandner said in an interview.

How long do elite athletes sleep? ›

Interestingly, there is a clear difference between team and individual sports when it comes to how much sleep professional athletes require. Research shows that individual sport athletes sleep on average 6.5 hours a night while team sports come in at 7 hours.

How much does Usain Bolt sleep? ›

When asked what he considers to be the most important part of his daily training regime he responded with — Sleep. He said, “Sleep is extremely important to me — I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body.” Bolt sleeps for 8 to 10 hours per night and he is not alone.

How many hours sleep by age? ›

How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Age GroupRecommended Hours of Sleep Per Day
Newborn0–3 months14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1 No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
School Age6–12 years9–12 hours per 24 hours2
Teen13–18 years8–10 hours per 24 hours2
Adult18–60 years7 or more hours per night3
5 more rows
Sep 14, 2022

What is the healthiest number of hours to sleep? ›

Sleep needs can vary from person to person, but in general, experts recommend that healthy adults get an average of 7 to 9 hours per night of shuteye. If you regularly need more than 8 or 9 hours of sleep per night to feel rested, it might be a sign of an underlying problem, Polotsky says.

How do you know if you slept well? ›

You typically sleep straight through the night, waking up no more than once per night. You're able to sleep the recommended amount of hours for your age group. You fall back asleep within 20 minutes if you do wake up. You feel rested, restored, and energized upon waking up in the morning.


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