How Sleep Influences Muscle Recovery After Working Out

July 20, 2019
Posted in Fitness
July 20, 2019 Brandt Beal

How Sleep Influences Muscle Recovery After Working Out

You work hard to maintain a steady workout routine to build and maintain your body. But, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to build that muscle mass you’ve always wanted. Or, maybe you aren’t losing much weight and can’t figure out why.

Did you know that sleep is just as important as resting and muscle recovery after an intense workout routine?

Turns out, the missing element to your routine may be getting enough sleep each night. Sleep aids the recovery process and enhances the body’s ability to regulate metabolism and helps you maintain regular weight loss and muscle growth. When you get more than four or five hours of sleep per night, you won’t have to worry about exhaustion or depleting the body of nutrients. 

Why is Rest and Recovery Important After a Workout?

Every time you work out, whether it be a full cardio routine, weight lifting, running or any intense workout routine, small microtears occur in the muscles of your body. To compensate for the amount of energy used to repair your muscles, your body begins to require more essential nutrients and chemicals to promote relaxation and circulation. This is why muscle recovery is so important to maintaining the health and strength of your body after working out.

Recovery is an important aspect of your workout routine where your muscles and tissues are repaired and increase their strength. This phase of your workout routine is even more important when you are weight training and trying to build muscle mass. Short-term recovery, also known as active recovery, starts with the initial cool down phase and lasts into the night as hormones regulate these processes.  

While you sleep, your body releases hormones that activates cellular rejuvenation, which promotes muscle repair and growth. For example, the stress hormone cortisol is released and helps the body tap into stored reserves of energy while adrenaline promotes optimal circulation. Not only does the body require high amounts of vitamins, minerals and proteins to sustain enough energy to repair muscles but it also needs a proper amount of sleep each night. 

How Sleep Effects the Recovery Process

Researchers have found that a lack of sleep is like being deficient in vital nutrients that your body needs to maintain optimal health. As observed by researchers Jonathan Mike and Len Kravitz, muscle recovery requires a higher amount of oxygen and nutrients. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation leads to an increased amount of cortisol and a decreased production of glycogen and carbohydrates needed to produce energy. 

While you sleep, growth hormones are released throughout your body and begin to stimulate muscle repair and growth while burning fat. These hormones also improve circulation and provide energy to your organs. Many studies suggest that your tissues are repaired and rejuvenated at a faster pace when you are in the deep REM sleep cycle, which is why it is so important to maintain a regular sleep schedule.

As an ongoing study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine that was performed on Stanford athletes has shown, getting around eight hours of sleep per night can boost athletic performance. Researchers observed that athletes swam a 15-meter sprint 0.51 seconds faster and reacted 0.15 seconds quicker than normal, which was in the range of 0.10 seconds. 

To meet your health and performance goals, you should never second guess the importance of getting a full night’s rest. Sleep can directly influence muscle recovery and how effective each workout session will be. Next time you plan your workout routine, you should allow enough time to sleep to amplify the occurrence of muscle recovery throughout your body to get the best possible results.