Sleep science and how to use sleep for weight loss and health

Build Muscle with Sufficient Sleep

A blog from Tuck Sleep

A well-balanced diet, exercise, weight training, and good hydration are all part of building muscle. If you’re going to get the results, you have to do the work. However, there’s one factor that’s often overlooked – sleep. The work required to build muscle tone (which is also a big part of losing weight and maintaining a healthy body composition) also includes adequate rest for the body to fully heal.

Lifting weights or a strenuous cardio workout can lead to micro-tears in the muscle tissue that eventually lead to stronger muscles. The body goes to work repairing these tears while you’re asleep by releasing human growth hormone (HGH), sometimes called growth hormone.

Both exercise and sleep cause the release of HGH, which may mean your rewards are doubled if you appropriately use both.

Your body goes through sleep cycles throughout the night, passing through all five sleep phases during each cycle. The sleep stages range from stage 1, wherein you’re close to wakefulness, to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, wherein muscles become paralyzed and brain activity mimics that of daytime.

HGH gets released during stage 3 sleep, the first of the deep sleep stages. Each time the body passes through this stage more HGH is released. This hormone causes the body to “fill in” the micro tears, consequently building and strengthening the muscles. However, there is a surge of HGH during the first cycle of the night. With each progressive cycle, the amount of HGH released decreases. Sleep deprivation prevents the initial surge of HGH and reduces the overall amount of HGH released for the duration of the sleep cycle.

In a study published in Sleep Medicine, researchers found that sleep deprivation prevented muscle repair. In effect, sleep played a “permissive role” in the repair of damaged muscle tissue. Without adequate sleep time, which for the average adult is between seven to nine hours, your body doesn’t have the time necessary to fully repair muscle damage.

If you’re really looking to build muscle mass and maintain a healthy, strong body with a good composition, high-quality sleep has to be part of your game plan. Not only does sleep help muscle recovery, but it’s also essential for appetite control, immune system health, and mental and emotional balance.

To get the high-quality sleep you need, your sleep environment has to be conducive to uninterrupted, deep sleep. The bedroom is one room in the house that should not be a multi-use space. A home office or gym in the bedroom can send your brain the wrong signals at bedtime and make it hard to fall asleep.

Everything about your bedroom, including the decor and lighting, can help both mind and body relax. Light, cool paint colors and natural elements like plants or nature-themed artwork can create a calming place to sleep. Blackout curtains or heavy drapes can block out light pollution, creating a dark environment that supports healthy sleep. You’ll also want to take a good look at your mattress. An old lumpy mattress could cause wakefulness. Your mattress should support your height, weight, and preferred sleep position – back, stomach, side. If you’re unsure what works for you, look at mattress reviews for insights.

You’ll also want to start developing good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene includes all the habits and behaviors in your life that contribute to high-quality sleep such as:

So to sum up, sleep is pretty damn important for health, weight loss and general well-being.

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