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The Importance of Sleep for Muscle Recovery

By David, SportsLab, 05/24/19, 12:00PM CDT

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Not enough sleep causes a sharp decline in growth hormone secretion. Growth hormone deficiency is associated with loss of muscle mass and reduced exercise capacity.

Sleep has a significant impact on muscle recovery. Surely your personal trainer has informed you about the importance of sleep and that if you don’t get enough of it, you’re not going to feel rested in the morning, and your muscles will not recover properly. Aside from being groggy the next day, another pitfall of not getting enough quality sleep is that it affects your efforts in the gym. While you may be able to ‘function just fine’, on a few hours of sleep, doing so still short changes your body composition goals.

Let’s first understand the two main stages of sleep in order to understand sleep’s impact on muscle recovery.

REM (rapid eye movement) Sleep: occurs in cycles of about 90-120 minutes throughout the night, and it accounts for up to 20-25% of total sleep time in adult humans. REM sleep dominates the latter half of the sleep period, especially the hours before waking.