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January 25, 2023 4 min read

After you workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibres through a cellular process, fusing muscle fibres to form new muscle protein strands or myofibrils. These repaired or newly formed myofibrils increase in thickness and number, resulting in muscle hypertrophy. Muscle growth occurs whenever the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. However, this adaptation does not happen while lifting weights. Instead, it occurs while you rest, more particularly when you sleep.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP FOR MUSCLE RECOVERY

Sleep impacts muscle recovery. You may already know about the importance of sleep and that if you don't get enough of it, you may still feel tired waking up in the morning, even if you think you've already taken the rest that your body needs. But it's not about just simply laying down in bed and taking a nap so that you've rested yourself. Your muscles may not have sufficiently and adequately recovered, so all the necessary bodily processes may not have proceeded to cause muscle adaptation, most importantly, growth.

UNDERSTANDING THE STAGES OF SLEEP

To understand the impact of sleep on muscle recovery and growth, we need to know the two stages of sleep and the processes that occur in each.

Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

Accounts for 40% of your total sleep time, the slow-wave or deep sleep is the phase in which muscle recovery and growth processes happen. At this stage, your blood pressure drops, your respiration becomes more profound and slower, and your brain rests with little activity. With reduced activities on these systems, much of the blood supply goes to your muscles, providing added oxygen and nutrients for healing and growth.

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

Accounts for up to 20 to 25% of your total sleep time, REM sleep occurs in the second half of the sleep period, specifically hours before waking up. During this time, brain activity picks up, and the body experiences a temporary paralysis of the muscles, known as atonia, except for the eyes and respiratory muscles. Even though the eyes are closed, they can be seen moving quickly, thus the name. REM sleep provides the energy to the brain necessary for restoring the mind.

WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT FOR MUSCLE GROWTH?

A lack of sleep lowers insulin sensitivity, resulting in insufficient glycogen replenishment.

During sleep, the excess glucose is transformed into glycogen and then stored in the muscles and the liver. Then, when your body needs a quick energy boost or isn't getting enough glucose from food, glycogen is broken down to produce glucose and released into the bloodstream to be used as energy by the cells, including the muscles. Once glucose enters the muscle cells, it undergoes various metabolic processes to generate energy-carrying adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is then used by muscles for contraction.

If you are sleep deprived, this entire process gets disrupted, leading to slow replenishment of glycogen, which can affect performance and muscle growth as athletes are less likely to be able to train as strenuously to produce muscle adaptation.

Human growth hormone is released into the bloodstream during sleep.

When you reach a point where you can no longer move your muscles (training to failure), you've inflicted microtears in the muscle fibres, which your body eventually repairs with the help of growth hormones and proinflammatory cells. During non-REM sleep, muscle-building growth hormone is secreted into your bloodstream. Without an adequate amount of sleep, the production of growth hormones is impaired. As a result, your muscles may still tense or sore in the morning. Also, during sleep, your muscles relax. This relaxation allows your muscles to be relieved of tension and can reduce pain.

Most Tissue Growth and Repair Occurs While You Sleep

You create small muscle tears when you do strength exercises such as weight lifting. These cells and tissues are repaired during sleep, making your muscles stronger. Sleep also boosts your overall muscle mass.

MASSAGE GUN FOR BETTER SLEEP

Although research on the usage of massage guns is still in its early stages, many studies have explored the potential for massage to improve sleep quality.

A variety of factors can cause insomnia. In women, menopause is one of these. Sleep can become much more difficult to acquire with the rapid hormone swings. Massage, fortunately, can assist. The findings of two related investigations are unmistakable.

The first study looked at how massage affected postmenopausal insomnia. The second study explored the impact of mindfulness and relaxation training on postmenopausal insomnia.

In the first trial, forty-four patients were divided into control and massage therapy. The markers for insomnia, including sleep quality and duration, were lowered in the massage group.

In the second trial, thirty menopausal women were divided into two groups based on their insomnia and sleep quality levels. One group received mindfulness and relaxation therapy for eight weeks, whereas the other did not.

The findings indicate that:

  • In postmenopausal women with insomnia, eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training increased sleep quality, quality of life, and attention levels and reduced vasomotor symptoms.
  • While the second study was not directly related to the use of massage therapy, it has been demonstrated that regular massage therapy can improve levels of relaxation, with similar benefits.

MASSAGE GUN FOR MUSCLE RECOVERY

Massage guns can be used for various purposes, including pain reduction and stress relaxation. However, most users use their massage gun primarily for workout-related soreness and stiffness, particularly delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

It turns out that using a massage gun is a matter of when not if.

If you want to reduce muscular soreness after exercise, use your massage gun immediately to reduce lactic acid and toxin buildup in your muscles. A brief application the next day will boost blood flow, giving oxygen to your muscles while releasing hardened fascia.

 



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