If you want to get ripped, invest in your sleep.
Lifting heavy weights damages muscle tissue and tears down complex chains of proteins housed within muscles. All this havoc causes inflammation, which is a natural response—at that point a chemical messenger system tells your brain to deal with the damage.
When those chemicals head in for the rehab, it’s like your body turns into an episode of HGTV’s Fixer to Fabulous. A crew races in to remove all the damaged cells and tissue and begins the repair process. At the end of the show, during the big reveal, the homeowner pulls up and realizes the builders knocked out a wall to make the house bigger.
That’s what’s happening to your biceps after heavy curls. Your body produces growth hormones for new muscle fiber formation and to replace damaged proteins. Over time, the result of all that stress is adaptation that increases muscle size.
But without sleep, your body won’t knock out those walls and make the house bigger.
The majority of this intra-muscular repair and synthesis takes place while you’re sleeping.
During deep early sleep, around 90-120 minutes, your body releases a large amount of human growth hormone (HGH). This is one of the most critical factors in muscle growth and if you don’t drop into a deep sleep during this first cycle, you could miss or diminish the HGH release.
The best way to ensure you don’t miss the release window is to clean up sloppy sleep habits.
Set a bedtime and stick with it. Your body is designed to start winding down when the sign sinks behind the horizon. If you hit the hay at 10 p.m., from then until 2 a.m. your body is performing physical repairs and from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. psychological repairs. If you miss your bedtime cortisol levels rise, signaling stress, which disrupts the repair process.
We know you’re awesome, but you can’t fudge this process, or fix it with pills or more protein powder.
Set a bedtime and stick with it. Your circadian clock develops a set-point for melatonin release, which sends you into that deep sleep and pumps out HGH during your body’s internal episode of HGTV.
Hey bro, can you give me directions to the gym?
Staying swole is easy. Get good sleep.