Muscle, recovery and fat loss
Sleep does more than make us feel good. It can have a massive impact on recovery, muscle gain and even fat loss. Here’s how to get better-quality shut-eye.
Whatever rep range you train in, your CNS (central nervous system) is sure to take a battering at some point. Advanced lifters don’t get away with it, either – the need for quality sleep isn’t something just beginners should worry about. Whenever you push your body and want it to adapt, sleep should be high on your agenda of things to embrace.
Exercise can help make us sleepy and set us up for a great night’s sleep. But intense exercise, CNS fatigue, muscle soreness and tiredness from training can, ironically, make it harder for us to sleep. Training at intensity can interrupt sleeping patterns, creating a cycle of under-recovery and fatigue which you don’t want to be in!
Luckily for you, there are certain supplements which can address nutritional, mineral and amino acid shortfalls in your diet and help you drift off into a deep, restful and replenishing sleep. Are these three sleep super-supps in your stack?
There’s more to life than whey. Casein protein is the “other protein” in milk (remember Little Miss Muffet eating her curds and whey?) It’s more slowly absorbed and digested than whey, the ideal choice for your final protein meal of the night before heading off to bed. Casein will drip-feed your body with protein, amino acids and BCAAs for hours whilst you sleep and the full feeling may help you drop off more quickly, too. Either drink it as a shake, stir a scoop into oats for a slow-release protein and carbs meal, or add fats like one of our awesome nut butters for a sweet treat which will deliver nutrition to your muscles for hours.
ZMA is a combination of two key minerals: zinc and magnesium. We can easily become depleted in both of these when we train hard, but they are both crucial for proper recovery. ZMA supplementation increases certain hormone levels which can be lowered by frequent training. Many people find using a quality ZMA supplement helps them feel sleepier at night and fall into a deeper, more restful sleep. Although men tend to be the biggest fans of ZMA it’s equally useful for women too.
This amino acid is found naturally in plenty of foods but we’d need to eat a lot of them to get the positive effects of an optimal dose. So consider supplementing with tryptophan to get all the benefits of this amino: it increases levels of serotonin (the calming, sleepy hormone) and is a precursor of melatonin. So not only can it support sleep patterns and quality of sleep, but is thought to improve mood and general well-being.
Complete Bedtime™ is a Micellar Casein blend (Premium Grass Fed Casein), utilised due to its slow absorption rate, that supplies a steady flow of muscle preserving amino acids into the muscles. At 30g protein per 35g serving (86% protein), you’ll get an abundance of protein and amino acids to help reduce muscle breakdown and wastage whilst you relax in a deep, comfortable sleep.
Leucine and HMB have been included because they are the perfect duo for increasing protein synthesis, promoting muscle growth, as well as reducing muscle damage. We’ve also included Tryptophan – an amino acid that promotes high quality sleep by raising melatonin and serotonin levels. Lysine and Theanine complete the formulation, both helping to reduce anxiety and promote a relaxed state.
How do you tackle the issue of sleep and recovery when you’re training hard?
About the Author:
Nicola Joyce has been writing for (and about) sport, fitness, nutrition and healthy living since 2004. She’s also a keen sportswoman: her background is in endurance sport but she now competes as a natural bodybuilder, most recently winning a world title with the INBF. When she’s not writing content, she can be found blogging at thefitwriter.wordpress.com. Follow her on Facebook & Twitter (@thefitwriter) too.