Sleep and repair
In order to grow and maintain our physical functionality, our bodies must restore broken down or damaged cells.
An easy, non-scientific, way to understand this is to consider muscle growth. Muscle growth is this:
A stimulus (i.e. exercise) informs the body that muscle cells need additional resources to function and will later need repairing.
Not only do they need repairing, they also need to be able to cope with that sort of stimulus next time (in this case – they need to be stronger).
Small tears in muscle fibres, from rigorous exercise, are repaired by the body, making them stronger.
Similar scenarios can be found throughout the body – healing a fractured bone, tissue repair and callusing skin.
Our bodies repair during rest. When are we most rested?
During sleep of course!
A stimulus, such as exercise, is just the precursor for growth. Growth actually happens during rest.
The science behind sleep and growth
In scientific terms, sleep is an anabolic period (molecules are constructed and built rather than broken down for energy usage – which is a catabolic period).
It is a time where tissues and nerve cells are repaired and renewed, neurotoxins are neutralised and chemicals (hormones) are rebalanced.
Hence why high amounts of anabolic hormones, such as: testosterone, Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) and Human Growth Hormone (HGH), are produced during sleep.
Such hormones are extremely important for muscle development and also play a part in fat loss.
A full night’s sleep is essential for cell restoration and muscle growth.
This seems reasonable to me as testosterone is the primary male reproductive hormone. Now I may not be speaking for all young males here, but I’m well aware of that “male reproductive” feeling the morning after a day of testosterone-driven heavy lifting! How about you guys?
I’ve not dug into the science of this but, speaking from personal experience, I’m sure there’s definitely a relationship between heavy lifting, sleep and sex drive; however, that is a whole other article!
Sleep muscle growth
I cannot put it any better than Dr Andy Galpin did on Jay Ferruggia’s podcast when he said, and I paraphrase…
“If there was a supplement on the market that could enhance your testosterone levels immediately by 25% and these levels will not reduce over time, how much do you think people would pay for that?”
Guess what that supplement was?
You got it, sleep!