Sleep is a vital ingredient in muscle recovery along with nutrition and the actual training. It is the rest period where your growth takes place, so if you want to get the full value of what you are doing then you need to get enough rest.
What happens during sleep
As light levels go down, the body increases the output of neurotransmitters like serotonin, melatonin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). At the same time, there’s a decrease of alert inducing chemicals like adrenaline and dopamine. This allows the body to relax and prepare for sleep. Then, the magic happens.
Refuelling & Recovery
Sleep recharges the body’s energy pool, giving it the necessary endurance to make it through the roughest workouts. It’s not only a matter of physical energy, but also of mental energy. Sleeping allows the central nervous system to fully recover. The brain replenishes neurotransmitters, which organises essential neural networks for cognitive activity throughout the day. The result is a refreshed mind and increased alertness and responsiveness, which lead to more focused training and enhanced performance.
Protein Synthesis & Self Repair
All the weight lifting and heavy training comes to this: muscle growth. During sleep, protein synthesis increases, repairing damaged muscle fibres and building new tissue. This process not only replaces the broken down muscle tissue, but also adds a new layer of lean mass. So in the end, the body repairs itself and wakes up with more muscle volume.
Release of Growth Hormone
Growth Hormone (GH) boosts the protein synthesis process. This fact alone makes GH vital to bodybuilders and whoever is looking to enhance their gains in muscle mass and volume. Although weight training helps releasing GH into the bloodstream, most of the GH output is produced while sleeping.