Working out but not seeing much change? You could be needing more sleep

Sleep is an important for our health and well being, but did you know it's also crucial for muscle development? If you're not getting enough of it, it could be seriously hindering your gains at the gym.

We already know that exercise and physical activity are good for our health. We also know that getting enough sleep is crucial in order for us to be able to function properly. But it turns out that sleep actually plays a super important role when it comes to muscle development, and if you're not getting enough of it, you could be shooting yourself in the foot when it comes building muscle.

The exercise-sleep connection

Sleep has always gone hand and hand with physical activity. It goes without saying that after a good workout or a few hours of playing sports, you're feeling exhausted. Usually, on those days you tend to sleep like a rock due to the fact that you've used a lot of energy and you're fatigued, mentally and physically. Exercise as been proven to lead to more solid sleep that makes you feel more rested overall.

In a study published in ScienceDirect based on the evidence, it was suggested that lack of sufficient sleep can actually lead to loss of muscle and slower muscle recovery. Needless to say, we need the opposite effect when it comes to weight training.

One hormone that is essential to muscle growth and recovery is somatotropin, more commonly known as the human growth hormone. Experts have suggested that up to 75 per cent of the HGH released in our bodies is released during sleep. If you're not getting enough sleep you could be at risk of developing a somatotropin deficiency.

How much sleep should you be getting?

According to the International Sports Sciences Association, 2011 study centred around sleep and muscle mass drew some interesting conclusions regarding the muscle mass in individuals that participated in the study. Conducted on two groups of people over 72 hours, one group running on 5.5 hours of sleep and the other group on 8.5 and everyone following the same caloric diet.

The results were staggering, with the group that had less sleep ending up with 60% less muscle mass and the group that had more ending up with 40% more muscle mass. If that's not enough to convince you to get more sleep I don't know what is!

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