Can You Really Gain Muscle While You Sleep?

Can You Really Gain Muscle While You Sleep?

A good night’s sleep can lead to great things: improved memory, sharper thinking, and feeling refreshed and being ready to take on the day. According to a recent study, it appears we can also add increasing muscle mass to the list of benefits that can be gained from a solid rest.

A group at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands ran a test to see if it was possible to increase muscle growth by eating protein before going to sleep. They took a group of men and placed them on identical meal and exercise plans for 12 weeks. Half of the men took a protein supplement before bed while the others took a placebo.

At the end of the 12 weeks, researchers recorded the participants’ muscle growth and strength, and compared the data. The men in the protein-supplement group had significantly more muscle growth and strength than those who were given a placebo. Although the test group in this study was already consuming a diet high in protein, the results showed that ingesting additional protein before sleep helped with overnight muscle growth.

This study used a supplement that was 27.5 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, and 0.1 g fat, but an earlier study from 2012 found similar results when participants ingested just 20 g of high-quality protein (casein) before going to sleep.

While frivolous nighttime snacking can lead to overeating, if you take a more targeted approach by eating a little protein just before bed, you may be able increase your muscle mass while you sleep.

About

Hannah Rex is Openfit's Content Manager. She has over four years of digital editorial experience with a focus on health, fitness, and nutrition. A lifelong athlete and former gymnast, she's working towards her RYT 200 and C.S.C.S certifications. She spends her free time trying new workout classes, looking for cozy coffee shops, and camping. Find her on LinkedIn and Instagram.