Sleep and Muscle Development: How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Sleep deep, muscles leap.
Sleep and Muscle Development: How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Daniel “Bokey” Castillo
Is the founder of
September 21, 2023

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Have you ever wondered why sleep is so important when it comes to building muscle or increasing your strength and fitness? Contrary to popular belief, getting enough sleep plays a major role in boosting overall health, athletic performance, and mental clarity.

If you’re serious about reaching optimal physical performance levels - as well as psychological wellness - then understanding the relationship between sleep and muscle growth is essential knowledge. To that end, this blog post will break down how much of it we actually need each night for peak performance!

Sleep and Muscle Relationship

When it comes to building muscle, there are some fundamental principles that can make a real difference: a proper diet, a solid workout routine, consistency, and the often underestimated power of a good night's sleep. The relationship between sleep and muscle development is intriguing, yet surprisingly simple to understand.

First and foremost, getting ample amounts of sleep is crucial for providing your body with the energy and rejuvenation it needs to effectively build and repair muscles. It's during these precious hours of shut-eye that growth hormones are released, stimulating the growth and repair of muscle tissue.

But here's the exciting part: deep sleep has been revealed as a secret weapon for recovery from intense training sessions and muscle fatigue. It's like a supercharged recharge for your muscles, allowing them to bounce back stronger and more resilient.

Effects of Low-Quality Sleep

Getting high-quality sleep is vital for overall health, well-being, and muscle growth. Insufficient or poor-quality sleep can have a range of adverse effects, including:

  • Reduced Energy Levels
  • Impaired Post-Exercise Recovery
  • Difficulty with Concentration
  • Decreased Muscular Strength
  • Lower Muscle Protein Synthesis
  • Decreased Atheltic Performance
  • Decreased in Muscle Mass

It is evident that inadequate sleep or low-quality sleep can have detrimental effects on both the mind and body. One area that is significantly impacted is muscle growth and recovery. When we don't get enough sleep, our body's ability to repair and build muscle tissue is compromised, leading to slower progress and decreased performance during physical activities.

Additionally, poor sleep quality can result in a range of other negative consequences, such as decreased cognitive function, immune system suppression, heightened stress levels, and an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions. Therefore, prioritizing and ensuring sufficient, high-quality sleep is crucial for overall well-being and optimal functioning of both mind and body.

Common Questions

How Much Sleep Do You Need for Muscle Development?

While there is no specific number, a 2017 study suggests that athletes who are focused on building muscle and increasing strength should prioritize getting a solid 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. It's worth noting that exceeding 8 hours of sleep hasn't proven to offer any substantial additional benefits.

The same study also indicated that men who consistently sleep less than 6 hours per night may experience a detrimental impact on their muscular strength. Therefore, ensuring an adequate amount of sleep is crucial for athletes striving to optimize their performance and achieve their fitness goals.

Best Type of Sleep for Muscle Growth

When it comes to muscle development, getting a great night's rest is more important than trying to focus on a specific type of sleep, so don’t overthink it. 

Every stage of sleep has its role and each person typically goes through 5 stages: wake, N1, N2, N3, and REM. However, during stage 3, also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS), the body will repair itself by rebuilding muscles, bones, and tissues. At this period, you’ll be in a deep sleep and it will be most difficult to wake you up. So if there was a point of your rest to not be interrupted, this would be that time.  

Does It Matter When I Sleep for Muscle Growth?

It's best to stick to a consistent sleeping pattern with 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night in order to ensure your body has enough time to recover and rebuild the muscle fibers you've damaged during exercise. Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time, while avoiding screens for at least an hour before bed to help promote better quality sleep. 

Is Napping Good for Muscle Growth?

Napping can be beneficial for muscle growth and recovery when done properly. Short naps of 10-30 minutes during the day can help to recharge your body and improve alertness. Additionally, napping can provide a restful break from exercise that allows your body the time it needs to recover and build muscle.

It's important not to nap for too long (over 30 minutes) as this could lead to feeling groggy and lethargic afterward. When done correctly, napping can be a great addition to your muscle-building routine.

How Does Exercise Affect Sleep?

Exercise can have a positive effect on your sleep. Regular exercise has been linked to improved quality of sleep and increased total sleep time, especially for those who struggle with insomnia or other types of sleeping disorders. Additionally, it can lead to better regulation of hormones associated with the body's sleep-wake cycle.

Exercise is also beneficial for improving energy levels during the day, which can further promote better sleep at night. Therefore, it's important to incorporate regular exercise into your routine in order to reap the full benefits of a good night's sleep.

How Can I Improve My Sleep Quality?

There are several steps you can take to improve your sleep quality, such as

  • Avoid caffeine and stimulants before bedtime
  • Limit screen usage before sleep
  • Create a comfortable sleeping environment
  • Exercises at least 1-2 hours before bedtime

Additionally, exercising regularly during the day and maintaining regular meal times have been linked to improved sleep quality.

What’s the Best Sleeping Position for Building Muscle?

When it comes to sleeping positions, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone has their own preferences and physical limitations that will dictate what’s best for them. That being said, some sleeping positions may be better than others when it comes to muscle development.

Sleeping on your back is generally considered the most beneficial position for supporting muscle growth. This is because it allows your body to be in a more neutral, relaxed position with less pressure on your joints and muscles.

Sleeping on your side can also be beneficial as it helps reduce snoring and other sleep disturbances. It also helps keep the spine aligned, which may help reduce pain and discomfort associated with incorrect posture while sleeping.

Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended for muscle development as it can lead to misalignment of the spine and cause soreness in the lower back, neck, and shoulders.

Final Thoughts

Getting enough quality sleep is essential for proper muscle development and overall well-being. Individual sleep needs vary, but it is generally recommended for adults to strive for 7-8 hours of high-quality rest each night.

Good sleep hygiene habits, such as avoiding caffeine before bedtime and maintaining regular meal times, can help improve the quality of your sleep. Finally, avoid sleeping on your stomach as it can lead to misalignments of the spine and cause soreness in certain areas.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you're getting enough rest to reap all the benefits that good sleep has to offer for your muscular gains.