National Sleep Awareness Week: How Sleep Can Help Muscles Recover and Grow
No matter what age you are, there's a good chance that you don't get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is extremely common in America, with over one-third of Americans not getting the amount of sleep recommended by health professionals. But this isn't just fatiguing or frustrating; lack of sleep can inhibit your muscle recovery.
The Sleep Cycle
You know that adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but different phases of sleep have different benefits to your mind and body. To understand sleep's impact on your muscle recovery and other aspects of your athletic achievement, you need to understand what happens when you sleep. There are four steps to sleep:
- Non-REM (Rapid-eye movement) Sleep Stage 1: The transition between wakefulness and sleep.
- NREM 2: A light sleep stage in which your body relaxes, which sees the slowing of brain activity, breathing rate, and eye movements, as well as the lowering of body temperature.
- NREM 3: Slow-wave or deep sleep, this phase accounts for 40% of your total sleep time and is the phase most important for muscle recovery.
- REM Sleep: Accounting for 20-25% of total sleep time, this is a more alert level of sleep where dreaming occurs. Your brain becomes more active, and your breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure increase.
It's during the third Non-REM stage when muscle recovery happens.
Muscle Recovery During Sleep
During Stage 3 of Non-REM sleep, growth hormone is secreted. Somatotropin, or human growth hormone, stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration. When you exercise, you create small tears in your muscles, which are repaired during this stage by the release of regenerative growth hormone. Inadequate sleep impairs the release of these hormones. Relevant to muscle recovery and physical activity, growth hormone also:
- Increases muscle mass
- Increases calcium retention and bone mineralization
- Increases protein synthesis
- Promotes lipolysis, the breakdown of lipids into energy
- Aids in the metabolism of glucose to maintain blood sugar levels
- Boosts the immune system
Sleep and Muscle Coordination
Proper sleep is not only crucial to your muscles' growth, but also vital to your muscles' athletic performance. Sleep helps not only to hone your physical skills, but also to bridge them with mental acuity, leading to:
- Improved hand-eye coordination and increased accuracy
- Faster reaction times and speeds
- Better overall athletic performance
Lack of sleep doesn't just lead to diminished growth hormone and lower muscle mass; it also contributes to the development of chronic pain, by inhibiting processes that regulate that pain. It can also increase your levels of ghrelin, a hormone that indicates hunger, while reducing leptin, the hormone that lets your body know it's full. Lack of sleep is associated with:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Poor immune health
- Reduced growth and development
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Poor concentration
- Accidents and injuries
How Can Mountain Ice Sports Recovery Gel Boost Muscle Recovery?
Muscle recovery is about more than getting rest, as it's also about supporting the work your body does while you're resting. Injuries can develop gradually due to repetitive stress combined with poor or limited downtime after exercise. Mountain Ice Sports Recovery Gel is a unique formulation of high-quality, all-natural ingredients designed to reduce muscle, joint, tendon, and ligament soreness and strain after exercise! Our ingredients have been specially chosen to reduce inflammation and strain after physical activity:
- Menthol: Its cooling sensation numbs pain, providing immediate relief, while it widens blood vessels to improve circulation and deliver more oxygen and nutrients to damaged areas.
- MSM: Prevents breakdown of connective tissue like ligaments and reduces inflammation.
- Spearmint: Soothes pain and muscle contractions, reducing stress on the foot.
- Aloe Vera: Anti-inflammatory plant that promotes faster muscle recovery.
- Camphor: Cooling pain reliever that reduces swelling from injury and increases circulation.
- Vitamin E: Reduces muscle soreness and encourages muscle rebuilding.
- Green Tea Extract: Powerful antioxidant that reduces the oxidative stress that can cause inflammation.
- Arnica Flower: Relieves inflammation and muscle soreness while improving circulation.
- Turmeric: Inhibits inflammatory response while promoting deep absorption of ingredients, fighting pain at its source.
Are you looking for improved recovery from exercise? Click here to try Mountain Ice Sports Recovery Gel today to make the most of your downtime!