Build muscle and lose weight while you sleep?
I’m sorry, what? Build muscle and lose weight through sleep? That sounds great!
Apparently, the body and mind are at rest in sleep.
But is it really like that?
In fact, a lot happens in our body so that we are fit and efficient again the next day.
Do you want to build muscle or lose weight? Here, too, sleep plays an enormously important role!
We spend a good 30% of our lives sleeping. Our body regenerates, recovers, and tries to render any pathogens harmless during sleep. In addition, when we sleep, we store things that we have learned during the day and process information.
We notice when we have slept far too little. When it needs a break, the body signals that we will lose concentration and yawn.
What happens before sleep
Before we fall asleep, the hormone melatonin is released in the pineal gland.
You have already heard about the pineal gland in the blog post “ Muscle Building and Hormones.”
This prepares all bodily functions for sleep. Body temperature drops slightly, breathing and heartbeat slow down, and blood pressure drops. It usually takes between five and 30 minutes for us to fall asleep.
You can’t really remember the moment you fell asleep because it comes in a fraction of a second.
Sleep phases – how does sleep work?
There are basically four phases:
- sleep phase
- light sleep phase
- deep sleep phase
- dream phase
The phases run one after the other, and a cycle takes about 90 minutes.
After the falling asleep phase, the light sleep phase comes as a transition to the important deep sleep and dream phase.
The deep sleep phase, in particular, is important for mental and physical recovery. Here regeneration phases are started, and the foundations for muscle building are laid.
Deep sleep and muscle building
If you want to have a fit and muscular body and training and nutrition, regeneration plays an important role.
For optimal regeneration, restful sleep is of great importance.
The BIG three “if”
- If you get some rest in the evening, the cortisol level drops.
- If the stress hormone cortisol is increasingly released or broken down insufficiently, it can even have a catabolic (muscle-breaking) effect.
- If you are still stressed in the evening, this can have a negative effect on muscle building and well-being. Therefore, one should avoid all stimulants before sleep!
In addition, growth hormones are released during sleep: when we have trained, the body repairs the damaged muscle tissue (micro-trauma in the muscle – small injuries in the muscle fibers), and cells regenerate.
The result is muscle hypertrophy: we build muscle.
So if we sleep too little or with poor quality, we break down cortisol poorly. In addition, we reduce the release of growth hormones and thus prevent muscle growth!
If we sleep badly or not enough, our regeneration time also increases, which negatively affects muscle building.
Furthermore, information is processed during sleep. In terms of training, this means that learned movement patterns (e.g., those of the basic exercises) are memorized during sleep.
Sleep and weight loss
Lack of sleep promotes obesity. Studies show that late sleepers tend to stay slimmer with the same amount of calories and exercise.
There are several reasons for this. For example, sleep influences glucose-insulin metabolism and leptin and ghrelin concentrations.
Ghrelin and leptin are hormones. Ghrelin is made in the stomach, and leptin is mainly in fat cells.
Along with other hormones, these two control hunger, and satiety. The two hormones are mutually dependent. If you sleep little or wake up during the night, the balance between the hormones gets upset. The result can be appetite and cravings the next day.
Furthermore, the important regeneration processes require energy at night. In the case of sleep disorders, this calorie-consuming regeneration process is also interrupted.
Getting enough sleep also indirectly promotes a slim figure. Improved recovery promotes muscle growth (if you train), and an increase in muscle mass, in turn, increases calorie consumption.
Dream phase – REM phase (Rapid Eye Movement) This phase has less to do with building muscle or losing weight, but it is still very interesting!
It begins about an hour later for the first time. The eyes move back and forth quickly under the lids (therefore called Rapid Eye Movement Phase).
This phase is primarily used for mental recovery, which is also of great importance.
The pulse and blood pressure, which have fallen during the deep sleep phase, rise again, and breathing becomes more irregular.
In the dream phase, the brain is very active, and activities are measured that are otherwise only found in the waking state, but the muscles are still lame.
The REM phase accounts for around 25% of all sleep in adults.
You tend to spend less time in the dream phase at the beginning of sleep, but this proportion increases with increasing sleep duration.
How do you increase sleep quality?
The quality of sleep is more important than the length of sleep. For example, it is less restful when sleep is interrupted.
The following lifestyle habits ensure a good night’s sleep:
- A fixed daily rhythm. The body adapts to this process and gets tired in time on its own. If you always go to bed at different times or get up at different times, you cannot benefit from this advantage.
- Active Lifestyle: An active lifestyle also helps to get tired in time. Active means, for example, being outdoors a lot and exercising regularly.
- Blue light filter: You should activate the blue light filter (also called night mode in Windows) on your cell phone and laptop in the evening and switch off your cell phone and laptop completely one hour before you plan to go to bed.
The blue lights emitted by smartphones and other screens prevent the release of the hormone melatonin and accordingly affect falling asleep.
- Rest: Basically, it helps if you get some rest in time. It is advisable to read something in the evening, but the content should not be too exciting.
- Note and pen: People who still have a lot of thoughts in bed should put a note and pen next to the bed. Stressful thoughts, ideas, or things that still need to be done that come to mind in bed should be noted. This “frees” you from these thoughts and clears your head again. The next day you can then devote yourself to the notes.
- Mattress: It should not be too hard, but above all, not too soft.
- Pillow: It should be rectangular and long. This is better than being tall, square, and fat because your shoulders should be resting on the mattress and not the pillow. Because the pillow is rectangular, only the head rests on the pillow, and the neck is straight and relaxed.
- Atmosphere in the bedroom: You should ventilate well for ten minutes before going to bed. However, the bedroom shouldn’t be ice cold either, because cold rooms make sleep restless.
- Melatonin release: To influence this positively, you should darken the room and dim the light.
- Duration of sleep: Adults should generally sleep between seven and nine hours and adolescents eight to ten hours. If you have slept less, it makes sense to make up for missing hours in the afternoon. For example, if you only manage to sleep six hours, the missing one to three hours could be made up in the afternoon.
But: there is no universal recipe for sleep duration: Everyone should check how much sleep they need to be fit.
Sleep is extremely important for you and your customers. It is essential for the entire organism, organ functions, and performance.
Aside from the health risks of lack of sleep, too little sleep hinders weight loss and muscle building or even promotes muscle breakdown.
One should always sleep enough and of sufficient quality.