How Lack of Sleep Prevents Your Muscle Recovery

How Lack of Sleep Prevents Your Muscle Recovery

Sleep is a crucial component of health, and its quality affects you in more ways than one. If you’re active or lead a healthy lifestyle, you have likely seen what a lack of sleep can do to your energy levels and overall mood. So, what are the effects of lack of sleep, and how they can impact your fitness?

Bad morning.

In this article, we’re going on a deep dive on the so-called “lack of sleep effects,” zeroing in on how they can impact your muscle recovery and, in turn, your sports and workout performance. Are you ready? Let’s go!

First, let’s take a look at lack of sleep symptoms

It’s easy to tell when you lack sleep because you get to experience one (or usually more) of the symptoms below:

  1. Drowsiness

2. Tiredness

3. Poor concentration

4. Inability to workout properly

5. Increased soreness post-workout

As we mentioned in the beginning, that last part is what we’re going to focus on since the mechanism behind muscle recovery is heavily reliant on the number of sleep hours you get and how well you actually sleep.

What’s the process behind muscle recovery?

Embossed body.

To understand how muscle recovery works, we need to look at what happens to your muscles when you work out.

During exercise, muscles sustain tiny tears. Now, this is none of your fault; this occurs naturally due to the inherent strain placed on muscles when you perform exercise movements. These microscopic tears are further exacerbated by something called ROS or reactive oxygen species, which cause further damage, causing the body to induce an inflammatory response.

This process prompts the brain to signal muscle repair, which includes releasing specialized hormones that work to build up muscle at its core. So, you may ask, where does a lack of sleep play into this?

Lack of sleep effects on muscle recovery

The answer is simple: the hormones and compounds behind muscle recovery (namely, glycogen, which is the primary source of muscle energy) are produced while you sleep, particularly when you’re experiencing what scientists call “deep sleep.” This is the phase of sleeping where your body does most of its restorative work, including muscle repair. However, to reach the deep sleep phase, you need to be mindful of your sleep quality, including how you sleep and how many hours of sleep you get per day.

Tips on how to improve sleep quality and boost muscle recovery

Sleeping girl.

First off, it’s great to keep up with things that will make you a Gym Expert and show you how to improve your workouts’ efficiency. However, there’s more you can do to enhance muscle recovery, including tackling your lack of sleep issues. How can you combine the two, you ask? Take a look at our handy list of tips below to find out!

  1. Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep at night

It’s been proven that 8-10 hours of sleep every night is what your body needs to restore its natural processes and repair muscle tissue. It is releasing specialized hormones and increasing the bioavailability of compounds such as amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscles. So, make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and catch up on any hours you may lack the first chance you get!

  1. Eat a protein-rich meal close to bedtime
A protein rich meal.

There are great ways to build muscle, and those include eating protein-rich foods. To improve protein and amino acid absorption, make sure you have a light protein snack before going to bed. This has been a proven strategy to boost the availability of amino acids, which build back muscle and help you build muscle size and strength.

  1. Create a bedtime ritual

Choose a set time that you’ll go to bed every night and make your bed a distraction-free zone. This means no screen time, no TV, and little to no lightning. Make sure you’re comfortable and have enough pillows, cooling, or warmth, and allow yourself to reach a state of calm before drifting off to sleep.


Now that we’ve covered what does lack of sleep cause, you understand the importance of getting quality sleep, not only for improving your quality of life but also for enhancing your muscle recovery post-workout. Make sure to follow our tips on boosting muscle recovery and limiting the factors that affect your sleep quality to ensure that you’re doing your best to maintain your fitness levels and overall well-being!

Let us know in the comments: have you been battling insomnia or suffer from chronic lack of sleep? If so, how have you felt it impacts your muscle recovery?

Author’s bio:

Hey everyone, it’s Coach Alisa Weaver 🙂

Teaching and coaching is my passion and career choice. I find great satisfaction to see others achieve their goals, whether it is recovery from injury or surgery, strengthening the body for competition, or just becoming fit. 

I think that anyone can improve their fitness level no matter what their physical condition may be. By pushing yourself, discipline, not giving up together we can make your goals happen.