Discover the crucial role of sleep in muscle growth and recovery. Learn how adequate sleep can enhance your gains, boost recovery, and optimize hormone levels for maximum muscle building. Don't miss the hidden secret to unlocking your full muscle-building potential.


  • Sleep loss results in a reduction in muscle protein synthesis which can lead to reduced muscle growth.
  • Sleep loss can cause a decrease in muscle mass.
  • Sleep loss can result in reduced muscle protein synthesis in conjunction with resistance exercise.


Regarding muscle growth, most people focus on protein intake, the number of sets, and resistance training intensity. However, there’s a critical factor that often goes unnoticed: sleep. As an essential aspect of human health, deep REM sleep plays a vital role in numerous physiological and cognitive functions.

The National Sleep Foundation states, “Adults are advised to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.” (Spiegel et al., 1999) But how does sleep impact muscle growth? Let’s delve into the science behind sleep and muscle hypertrophy.


Research investigating the sleep time of older men found that insufficient sleep was associated with lower muscle mass. (Buchmann et al., 2016) If you think that sleep is something that you can neglect to build muscle, think again!! One of the most common questions searched on Google is, “Is 6 hours of sleep for muscle growth optimal for muscle gains?”

One study found that people sleeping only 5.5 hours a night while dieting lost more lean muscle mass than those who sleep 8.5 hours a night. Those sleeping 5.5 hours a night had a 55% lower fat loss, and, interestingly, the loss of muscle mass was 60% higher. The study suggests that sleeping enough to build muscle can’t be neglected (Nedeltcheva et al., 2010).

sleep and muscle gain importance of sleep for muscle growth sleep and muscle recovery optimal sleep for muscle building deep sleep and muscle growth REM sleep and muscle hypertrophy sleep duration for muscle gains sleep quality and muscle developmentSleeping less for 14 days resulted in an 8% increase in subcutaneous body fat and an 11% increase in visceral fat.In another study, subjects were placed on a calorie-restricted diet to promote weight loss, and the participant’s body weights were monitored for two years. The study found that those who slept less had a lower calorie reduction and experienced less weight and fat loss compared to those getting adequate sleep.

Participants who slept less lost 3.2 kg (7.04 lbs.) less weight than those getting adequate sleep at 6 months and 2.6 kg (5.7 lbs.) less at 2 years. The difference in fat loss between the two groups was 2.1 kg (4.62 lbs.) at 6 months and 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs.) at 2 years, with those without sleep disturbances losing more fat mass. (Li et al., 2022)

Studies have found that sleeping less results in greater increases in fat, mainly through increased appetite and increased calories consumed throughout the day.


sleep and muscle gain importance of sleep for muscle growth sleep and muscle recovery optimal sleep for muscle building deep sleep and muscle growth REM sleep and muscle hypertrophy sleep duration for muscle gains sleep quality and muscle development


Changes in muscle mass are regulated by short-term (i.e., days to weeks) changes in rates of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle protein breakdown (MPB) (Rennie, 1985).  One possible explanation for lower muscle mass is that sleep deprivation (i.e., 72 hours) can increase cortisol levels and protein breakdown. (Kant et al., 1984)

A 2020 study aimed to investigate how sleep loss combined with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) affects muscle protein synthesis. HIIT is known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in well-rested individuals. The study compared muscle protein synthesis in three groups: adequate sleep, sleep loss, and sleep loss combined with HIIT. The sleep loss group was allowed 4 hours per night for 5 nights.

The study found that five nights of sleep restriction led to significantly lower muscle protein synthesis rates. Interestingly, the combination of sleep loss and HIIT did not further increase protein synthesis compared to the group that slept 8 hours without exercise. This suggests that insufficient sleep can have a major negative impact on muscle protein synthesis, even when training hard. (Saner et al., 2020)

sleep and muscle gain importance of sleep for muscle growth sleep and muscle recovery optimal sleep for muscle building deep sleep and muscle growth REM sleep and muscle hypertrophy sleep duration for muscle gains sleep quality and muscle development


As discussed in Evidence Based Muscle, testosterone is essential for increasing muscle mass and protein synthesis. Researchers examined the impact of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young, healthy men.

The participants underwent a protocol consisting of three nights of 10-hour sleep (from 10 PM to 8 AM) followed by eight nights of 5-hour sleep (from 12:30 AM to 5:30 AM). The participants’ testosterone levels were measured in the morning and evening during the baseline period and after the sleep restriction period.

The results showed that after just one week of sleep restriction, the participants’ daytime testosterone levels had significantly decreased by 10% to 15%. Moreover, the decline in testosterone levels occurs with a decrease in mood and vigor scores. (Leproult & Van Cauter, 2011)


Sleep plays a crucial role in muscle growth; neglecting it can hinder muscle gain, repair, and fat loss. Sleep loss leads to a cascade of events that reduce anabolic hormones and increase catabolic hormones. (Dattilo et al., 2011) Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to optimize muscle growth. By prioritizing and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, you can support your body’s natural recovery process and enhance your gains.


Buchmann, N., Spira, D., Norman, K., Demuth, I., Eckardt, R., & Steinhagen-Thiessen, E. (2016). Sleep, Muscle Mass and Muscle Function in Older People. Dtsch Arztebl Int, 113(15), 253-260.

Dattilo, M., Antunes, H. K., Medeiros, A., Mônico Neto, M., Souza, H. S., Tufik, S., & de Mello, M. T. (2011). Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Med Hypotheses, 77(2), 220-222.

Kant, G. J., Genser, S. G., Thorne, D. R., Pfalser, J. L., & Mougey, E. H. (1984). Effects of 72 hour sleep deprivation on urinary cortisol and indices of metabolism. Sleep, 7(2), 142-146.

Leproult, R., & Van Cauter, E. (2011). Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men. JAMA, 305(21), 2173-2174.

Li, A., Li, X., Zhou, T., Ma, H., Heianza, Y., Williamson, D. A., Smith, S. R., Bray, G. A., Sacks, F. M., & Qi, L. (2022). Sleep Disturbance and Changes in Energy Intake and Body Composition During Weight Loss in the POUNDS Lost Trial. Diabetes, 71(5), 934-944.


Nedeltcheva, A. V., Kilkus, J. M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D. A., & Penev, P. D. (2010). Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Ann Intern Med, 153(7), 435-441.

Rennie, M. J. (1985). Muscle protein turnover and the wasting due to injury and disease. Br Med Bull, 41(3), 257-264.

Saner, N. J., Lee, M. J., Pitchford, N. W., Kuang, J., Roach, G. D., Garnham, A., Stokes, T., Phillips, S. M., Bishop, D. J., & Bartlett, J. D. (2020). The effect of sleep restriction, with or without high-intensity interval exercise, on myofibrillar protein synthesis in healthy young men. J Physiol, 598(8), 1523-1536.

Spiegel, K., Leproult, R., & Van Cauter, E. (1999). Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet, 354(9188), 1435-1439.

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