We’ve been told that if you stay active and do some kind of physical work, you can fall asleep instantly. So logically bodybuilders must be the best sleepers in the world.
But this is not always true, there are various things that can affect a bodybuilder’s sleep- and we all know how important sleep is for bodybuilding.
If you don’t have much time, here’s what you need to know:
So, do bodybuilders have trouble sleeping? Well, yes and no. Bodybuilders can have trouble sleeping due to muscle soreness and sleep apnea caused by muscle growth, but bodybuilders also get more tired and tend to fall asleep faster and have longer, better sleep.
Now, let’s cover this whole thing more-in depth and answer this question once and for all.
#1 – Overtraining Worsens Sleep
Overtraining is one of the most common causes of sleeplessness in bodybuilders because they need to progressively overload for muscular hypertrophy to happen and they aim to train harder than last time. French researchers published a study in the Medicine and science in sports and exercise magazine involving 27 male athletes that overtraining does affect sleep negatively.
The risk of overtraining is increased in an average everyday bodybuilder who is just trying to get beach-ready as they might not be familiar with concepts such as deloading and periodization which professionals use to avoid overtraining or overreaching as the researchers call it.
- Read: Is Overtraining a Myth?
It is absolutely necessary to listen to our body and look for signs of overtraining and take necessary precautions. Sometimes all you need is to take a week off from the gym to set everything straight.
#2 – Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in Bodybuilders
It is traditionally believed that only overweight people can be affected by obstructive sleep apnea but if you dig deeper, you’ll find that this is a huge misconception.
As a matter of fact, there’s a major thing bodybuilders have that contributes to obstructive sleep apnea which is often overlooked- having a huge muscular neck!
A neck circumference of 17 inches in men and 16 inches in women is a risk factor. And we all know that bodybuilders train their upper shoulders and neck extensively to obtain the ‘yoked’ physique.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea basically means that when you sleep, your airway becomes slightly obstructed or blocked in some way. This is how people ‘snore’- and unfortunately, snoring is very bad!
This issue can be offset by always using a sleep apnea machine. (Also, so many people that regularly snore have said their life has changed day/night from a sleep apnea machine, I myself highly recommend it)
While it’s not the best look to arrive at your date’s house with a sleep apnea machine, it can help reduce the risk of OBS and promote quality sleep.
#3 – Sleep, Recovery and Performance
Protein synthesis is one the best friend of a bodybuilder. In simple words, when we work out, muscle damage occurs. Our body then uses a process called protein synthesis to use the protein we eat to repair these muscles and that’s how muscle is built.
That also explains the 20 huge tubs of whey protein at your Gymbro friend’s place.
Sleep promotes the production of hormones that signals the body to enter a state of protein synthesis.
On the other hand, lack of sleep leads to an increase in the hormone called Cortisol which signals the body to enter the opposite stage of Protein synthesis called ‘Protein Breakdown’.
It is already hard enough to build muscle, now imagine your body working against you to stop you from reaching your new year’s resolution.
So, sleep is very essential in a bodybuilder’s life and everyone involved in this sport must do their best to get quality bedtime.
#4 – Weightlifting To Improve Sleep
So far we’ve talked about things that might affect sleep in a negative way but come on, it’s shouldn’t be all bad. There must be something about bodybuilding that helps improve sleep too. If you don’t believe me, research says it does.
This study published in the research journal (‘Preventive medicine reports’) looked at over 23,000 adults in Germany and it concluded that people who’ve had just one day of training per week also showed a positive effect on their sleep.
So, this does prove that resistance training done correctly does promote good, efficient, and effective sleep.
Conclusion of Do Bodybuilders Have Trouble Sleeping?
So, there are a few factors that might affect a bodybuilder’s sleep.
These issues can be offset by taking a few precautions and proper programming.
Taking everything into consideration, we can say that a bodybuilder will be sleeping sounder than the average person as they know it is necessary to maximum utilize the elevated growth hormones during sleep and get a ton of those awesome sleep gains.
But, at the same time, be careful and look out for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and stress related to overtraining. Always check in with your physician if you feel like you’re having sleep-related issues!