Sleep and Bodybuilding
Sleep is one of the most valuable factors in bodybuilding. Overtraining is simply a lack of rest, said Joe Weider long time ago before we were even born. Rest, sleep in particular, is essential for successful muscle building. While you are sleeping the cortisol level stabilizes and the growth hormone level increases. Under sleep deprivation you can not develop large muscles no matter how great your training program is. Once in the wakeful state, our body concentrates on the external environment; this includes work, relationships, trainings stress, and even meals. Sleep is the period, when our body gets a chance to take care of itself and treat itself from within.
Sleep and Muscle Mass
Sleep helps us recover; sleep deprivation leads to physical, intellectual, and nervous exhaustion. When you sleep too little, the catabolic processes start dominating in your body. Muscle mass is lost in the first place. The process starts from the muscle bellies flattening out and softening, and soon enough your body develops relative atrophy. As the cortisol level increases in the body, fat depositing becomes easier (as a reaction to stress), the person displays anxiety, irritability, and annoyance, and, most importantly for a bodybuilder, the testosterone level drops. Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the overall testosterone level, as well as on the conversion of testosterone into its free form. This, in addition, leads to the loss of dry muscle mass, to lowered libido, weakened erection, and lack of attraction.
Deep Sleep Is a Must in Bodybuilding
How much sleep we need is a personal matter, but bodybuilders need deep sleep like nobody else. While beauty sleep (the day-time sleep) has a lot of benefits, it can not provide complete restoration. Bodybuilders, who wish to develop impressive figure, need to sleep a lot and deeply enough. The type of sleep they need is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is the deepest state of sleep. Eyes move rapidly under the eyelids, when the person is going through this phase. This phase of sleep is of prime importance for sufficient recovery after heavy trainings.
Non-stop Sleep at Night
How fast you go through the earlier, lighter phases of sleep determines how fast you reach REM sleep. Some people reach REM at a railway speed, while others might need a couple of hours. The fact how fast your reach REM determines how many hours you need to have your sleep out. If your workouts at the gym are intensive, you will probably need seven hours of non-stop sleep at night. The non-stop part is very important, since interruption of REM sleep has negative effect on the body restoration.
Restore Your Body after Workouts
Sometimes you may find yourself in situations when diet and rest can not provide sufficient restoration. In such situations you will feel overtrained fast; the more you work, the worse results you get. This is due to the fact that there are no magic foods or food additives which can help you resist training damages as much as deep sleep does. In such situations it is better to listen to your body and lower the load on bit or stop working out until full recovery.