Inadequate Sleep and Your Physique

Lack of Sleep and Bodybuilding – Sleep for a Better Physique!

lack of sleep and bodybuildingSleep is probably one of the easiest things you can do when it comes to building a better physique.  All it requires is a little bit of planning and some time.  However, when it comes to bodybuilding the importance of sleep is often overlooked.

Why Do You Need Sleep?

During sleep hormones are released, tissues grow and get repaired, and energy is restored making us feel refreshed and alert to get through our daily activities. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

However, many of us don’t get enough sleep because of our sleep needs aren’t ahead of our other priorities, but when other things take precedent over our sleep it has its ill effects on bodybuilding.

Not only does a lack of sleep lower your testosterone levels, but it also increases your appetite which is a dreadful combination for a bodybuilder.

Lowers Testosterone

The principal male sex hormone testosterone is a naturally occurring androgenic hormone which is responsible for characteristics such as growth of body hair, growth of bone and muscle tissue, and the deepening of the voice. For bodybuilding purposes, testosterone is the most prominent of hormones.

Studies have shown that testosterone combined with strength training substantially increases the amount of muscle size and strength3.  However, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that five hours of sleep per night for just one week decreased testosterone levels as much as 15% in young men1. This is bad news for anyone trying to maximize their muscle mass.

If you want to help ensure you don’t hinder your potential muscular growth, then you’ll want to consistently get more than five hours of sleep on a nightly basis.

Increases Appetite

The long-term consumption of excess food in relation to the energy that a person expends is generally referred to as overeating. This excess food consumption without an increase in energy expenditure over time can lead to the type of weight gain we are trying to avoid as bodybuilders.

A study published in the American Journal of Human Biology found that lack of sleep impacts the hormone secretion of ghrelin, which is responsible for increasing appetite, and leptin, which tells the body when it’s satisfied2. This disruption in hormones leads to increased food intake without the compensating energy expenditure.  In other words, not getting adequate sleep can lead to overeating and unwanted weight gain.

Low testosterone plus an increased appetite is a potent formula for weight gain and an increased waistline. Fight unwanted body fat by including your sleep needs with your other top priorities. For adequate tissue repair, optimal testosterone levels, and a regular appetite, continuously get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep on a nightly basis.

Lack Of Sleep And Bodybuilding:  References

1^University of Chicago Medical Center (2011, May 31). Sleep loss dramatically lowers testosterone in healthy young men.ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from­/releases/2011/05/110531162142.htm
2^Wiley-Blackwell (2012, April 17). Lack of sleep is linked to obesity, new evidence shows.ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from­/releases/2012/04/120417080350.htm
3^Bhasin S, Storer TW, Berman N, Callegari C, Clevenger B, Phillips J, Bunnell TJ, Tricker R, Shirazi A, Casaburi R (July 1996). “The effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on muscle size and strength in normal men”. N. Engl. J. Med. 335 (1): 1–7.

See Also:

Author Profile: Julian Brown, BS, ACE-CPT, NASM-FNS      Julian is the co-owner of The Yard Fitness, an established fitness writer, a professional natural bodybuilder, a fitness & sport nutrition specialist, and a certified personal trainer. He began strength training at the young age of fourteen to improve his sports performance and hasn’t looked back since. Julian is a graduate of Grambling State University, ACE & NASM certified, and he has over a decade of personal experience in strength training.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.
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