How Your Muscles Recover as You Sleep

By Alicia Sanchez

Sleep helps you progress in a healthy lifestyle. It gives your body the support you need to recover and regenerate each night. A lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, overuse injuries, a decrease in muscle mass, and a reduction in testosterone.

Sleep and Human Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone is released during both exercise and sleep. However, sleep is especially important for the release of this hormone, as it’s estimated as much as 75 percent of human growth hormone is released as you sleep.

Human growth hormone repairs and restores your body, helping you maintain healthy body tissue, including muscles. It promotes healthy metabolism and enhances your physical performance.

Major human growth hormone release occurs during deep sleep for typical adults. This stage of sleep is the most restorative and allows human growth hormone to repair and rebuild your muscles as you sleep.

The Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Muscle Recovery

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body struggles to repair itself from exercise and the stress of the day. If you’re not getting into deep sleep stages at night, you will not experience the surge in human growth hormone that’s released during deep sleep.

Poor sleep has additional consequences for fitness. It can impact reaction time, attention, and focus. When your body is struggling to stay focused and alert from fatigue, you’re not functioning at your best.

How to Support Muscle Recovery With Sleep

Getting good sleep supports health and fitness, allowing your body to recover and regenerate each night. Improve the quality of your sleep with these tips:

1 – Maintain healthy sleep habits.

Keep a regular sleep schedule, waking up at the same time each day and going to sleep at the same time each night, and practice a consistent bedtime routine each night before you go to bed. Keeping a regular schedule and routine will help make it easier to get to sleep each night, offering predictability. Practice good sleep hygiene, including maintaining a healthy sleep environment that is comfortable, dark, cool, and quiet.

2 – Strategically time workouts.

Exercise is generally helpful for sleep, making it easier for you to fall asleep each night. However, vigorous exercise before bed can keep you up at night. It’s a good idea to time your workouts for the morning or afternoon, avoiding strenuous activity in the hours just before bed.

Bedtime Yoga and Meditation

3 – Practice calming activities before bed.

Make yoga, meditation, or other calming activities part of your bedtime routine. Light, relaxing yoga and meditation can stretch out your body and center your mind, making it easier to shake off the stress of the day and get a good night’s sleep.

For more on being well rested, check out Matt covering it from the Blue Zone in Costa Rica on Day 9 of our 30 Days of Health Series: I AM RESTED

This article was brought to us by our friends at:

Tuck Sleep

Tuck Sleep is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.

Having a trouble falling asleep?

Check out these incredible guided sleep meditations that Gia created to help us transition into deep, nourishing rest. Available in 2, 5, 10, 20, and 30 minute sessions.

Alicia Sanchez is a researcher for the sleep science hub with a specialty in health and wellness. A Nashville native, Alicia finds the sound of summer storms so soothing that she still sleeps with recorded rain on her white noise machine.
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