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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

By: Robert A. Schinetsky


 How many times have you been told that to get bigger, stronger, and faster you need to eat right and train hard?

 Probably more times than you can remember.

 While this advice certainly is valuable, it fails to mention the third vitally important aspect of muscle growth and recovery -- SLEEP.

 Sleep is essential to muscle growth, and in more ways than you can probably imagine. It’s that time when you body restores itself and repairs all the damage induced by your active lifestyle. It also helps recharge the mind, so that you can be more productive and “with it” in all of your daily activities, including your training.

 But how exactly does sleep translate to bigger, stronger mind and muscles?

 Let’s find out!

How Sleep Impacts Muscle Growth & Recovery

Sleep Increases Anabolic Hormones

 While you sleep, your body is engulfed in a sea of muscle-making hormones, including insulin-like growth factor-1 and testosterone. These two hormones are essential for recovery, repair, and most importantly, GROWTH![1,2,3]

 If you are short changing your sleep, you’re limiting the amount of these critical hormones your body is producing, ultimately hindering your ability to recover and grow optimally.

Sleep Affects Performance

 In order to continually progress with building size and strength, you need to lift heavier weight and perform more reps than you previously have. It’s the basic principle behind muscle growth and progressive overload.

 Part of performance is nutrition -- eating the right foods (and right amounts) to support your training and recovery. The other big factor that impacts your ability to perform at a high level day after day is sleep. Without adequate sleep, your body and mind won’t fully recover, limiting strength and endurance in subsequent workouts. On top of that, sleep deficits also affect focus and cognition, increasing your chance of injury when performing complex exercises.

Sleep Influences Appetite

 Sleep doesn’t only impact your muscle-building hormones, it also affects the ones that regulate your appetite, including ghrelin and leptin.

 Ghrelin is the hormone that increases appetite, helping you pack away those calories you need to build and repair muscle tissue. Leptin, on the other hand, is the hormone that tell you when you’re full.

 Getting insufficient sleep leads to increased ghrelin levels and decreased leptin levels[4,5], which means you’re likely to be overly hungry the day after a bad night’s sleep. While this might not seem that terrible, it can lead to overeating, which inevitably leads to fat gain...not exactly what you want when trying to build muscle and strength.

 As you can see, sleep pays an extremely vital role in performance, recovery, and growth, but let’s see what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep.

Lack of Sleep Effects

Increased cortisol levels

 One of the biggest problems with constantly skimping on sleep is that it leads to an increase in daytime cortisol levels first major problems of sleep deprivation is an increased daytime cortisol levels.[6,7] In case you weren’t aware, cortisol is an incredibly catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle tissue and restrict protein synthesis.

 Moreover, increased cortisol levels also means stress[8], which in turn affects sleep, leading to a vicious cycle of muscle breakdown and under recovery.

Decreased Testosterone

Remember up top when we said that sleep is when your body is flooded with testosterone and growth hormone?

Well, sleep deprivation has the exact opposite impact on your T levels. Studies show that individuals with poor sleep have lower testosterone levels, which severely limits your ability to recover and build muscle.[6,9]

Decreased Growth Hormone

 Similar to the decline in testosterone experience with sleep deprivation is the decline in growth hormone. Research notes that lack of sleep reduces levels of growth hormone in the body, which can seriously impact muscle growth.[6]

Increased Risk of Injury

 We touched on this a bit up top when discussing the importance of sleep in relation to athletic performance, but it’s worth mentioning again. Sleep impacts mental alertness, cognition, and focus. Failing to get adequate sleep reduces your ability to concentrate while training, heightening your risk of injury. On top of that, lack of sleep also reduces immune system function and increases inflammation, undercutting recovery and increasing the likelihood of illness, which further affects your ability to train continuously at a high level.[10]

Increased Fat Gain

 We’ve previously discussed the relationship between the “hunger” hormones, ghrelin and leptin. As we stated, ghrelin increases hunger, while leptin increases feelings of satiety (“fullness”).

 Lack of sleep disrupts the delicate balance and interplay of these two hormones, which can lead to excess calorie consumption, especially the high-calorie, high carb and fat foods. Eating too many of these foods, and blowing your diet, leads to fat gain.

 But that’s not all.

 Growth hormone also impacts fat breakdown in the body, and decreased growth hormone levels, as a result of poor sleep, can also lead to increased body fat. Plus, high cortisol levels are also associated with increased body fat, particularly in the abdominal region[8], which may occur due to a lack of sleep.

Struggling with Sleep

 By now, there’s not question how pivotal sleep is regarding your training and recovery. It’s absolutely essential, there’s no two ways about it. But what about those times when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.

 Sure, you can try things like establishing a nighttime ritual, having a cup of warm tea before bed, and avoiding blue light in the late evening, but what do you do when the lights are off and you’re still tossing and turning for two hours in bed every night?

 How can you quiet your mind and get a great night’s sleep?

 Fortunately, there are several all natural supplements that can help speed sleep latency and duration of sleep.

 Let’s take a look at some of the best sleep supplements you can use to get a muscle-building night’s rest.

Best Sleep Supplements


 Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that impacts your circadian rhythm and regulates the sleep/wake cycle. It’s also involved in metabolism,maintaining bodyweight, and stimulation of brown fat, which increases fat burning.

 In the evening, your production of melatonin starts to increase, which helps your body “wind down” and know that it’s time to go to sleep. However, exposure to various sources of blue light from tablets, smartphones, TVs and other LEDs decreases melatonin production, which affects your ability to go to sleep.

 Supplementing with melatonin has been shown to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and help normalize sleep patterns, especially for people suffering from jet lag or working the late shift.


 A derivative of the essential amino acid L-Tryptophan, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier that converts to serotonin, a powerful neurotransmitter associated with feelings of fatigue and tiredness. As such, serotonin plays a key role in the sleep-wake cycle and when combined with GABA has been shown to improve sleep duration and quality.[16]

 Additionally, serotonin also helps suppress appetite and reduce cravings, ensuring you stay on point with your diet and don’t overeat.


 Another important neurotransmitter in the brain is GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). As the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA helps the body relax, calm down, and better manage stress.

 GABA also stimulates growth hormone release from the pituitary gland which supports muscle recovery and promotes lipolysis. When combined with 5-HTP, it helps improve length of sleep and overall sleep quality.


 Found predominantly in tea leaves, L-theanine is an amino acid with the unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, where it exerts a relaxing effect on the body. Studies have shown that supplementing with L-theanine increases relaxation (without sedation), improves sense of wellness, and enhances sleep quality.

 Rather than have to source each of these ingredients on their own, wasting a lot of time and money, Advanced Molecular Labs has done the research for you and created the ultimate nighttime sleep aid that also helps burn fat and support muscle growth in ThermoHeat Nighttime.

ThermoHeat Nighttime -- The Muscle Building Sleep Aid

 AML ThermoHeat Nighttime uses a synergistic matrix of non-stimulant fat burning agents and sleep aids to help you get a better night’s sleep each and every night. Not only will you wake up feeling more refreshed, you’ll also wake up feeling a bit lighter too!

 The powerful ingredients included in ThermoHeat Nighttime elevate thermogenesis and calorie burning while also suppressing appetite, so you don’t wake up with those ravenous feelings of hunger in the middle of the night and wander towards the kitchen and binge on leftovers.

 ThermoHeat Nighttime uses only natural sleep aids that usher you into a deep sleep, but never leave you feeling groggy, foggy, or hungover in the morning, unlike other sleep aids on the market.

 Sleep better tonight, so you can get bigger, stronger, and leaner, with AML ThermoHeat Nighttime.




  1. Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Role of Sleep and Sleep Loss in Hormonal Release and Metabolism. Endocrine development. 2010;17:11-21. doi:10.1159/000262524.
  2. Sassin, J. F., Parker, D. C., Johnson, L. C., Rossman, L. G., Mace, J. W., & Gotlin, R. W. (1969). Effects of slow wave sleep deprivation on human growth hormone release in sleep: Preliminary study. Life Sciences, 8(23, Part 1), 1299–1307.
  3. Tae Won Kim, Jong-Hyun Jeong, and Seung-Chul Hong, “The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism,” International Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 2015, Article ID 591729, 9 pages, 2015.
  4. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index. Froguel P, ed. PLoS Medicine. 2004;1(3):e62. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062.
  5. Schmid, S. M., Hallschmid, M., Jauch-Chara, K., Born, J., & Schultes, B. (2008). A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men. Journal of Sleep Research, 17(3), 331–334.
  6. Dattilo, M. et al. Sleep and muscle recovery: Endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses, 2011. 77: 220–222.
  7. Spiegel, K. et al. Impact of sleep debt on physiological rhythms. Revue Neurologique, 2003. 159(11):6S11-20.
  8. Mujica-Parodi, R. et al. Higher body fat percentage is associated with increased cortisol reactivity and impaired cognitive resilience in response to acute emotional stress. International Journal of Obesity, 2009. 33: 157-165.
  9. West, D. et al. Anabolic Processes in Human Skeletal Muscle: Restoring the Identities of Growth Hormone and Testosterone
. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 2010. 38(3):97-104.
  10. Halson, S. Sleep in Elite Athletes and Nutritional Interventions to Enhance Sleep. Sports Medicine, 2014. 44 (S1) :S13–S23.
  11. Moyer, A. E., Rodin, J., Grilo, C. M., Cummings, N., Larson, L. M., & Rebuffe-Scrive, M. (1994). Stress-induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women. Obesity Research, 2(3), 255–262.
  12. Tae Won Kim, Jong-Hyun Jeong, and Seung-Chul Hong, “The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism,” International Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 2015, Article ID 591729, 9 pages, 2015.
  13. Tan, D.-X., Manchester, L. C., Fuentes-Broto, L., Paredes, S. D., & Reiter, R. J. (2011). Significance and application of melatonin in the regulation of brown adipose tissue metabolism: relation to human obesity. Obesity Reviews : An Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 12(3), 167–188.
  14. Malhotra S, Sawhney G, Pandhi P. The Therapeutic Potential of Melatonin: A Review of the Science. Medscape General Medicine. 2004;6(2):46.
  15. Costello RB, Lentino CV, Boyd CC, et al. The effectiveness of melatonin for promoting healthy sleep: a rapid evidence assessment of the literature. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:106. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-106.
  16. Shell W, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of an amino acid preparation on timing and quality of sleep. Am J Ther. (2010)