Muscle for life

Help, I Can’t Sleep! Effects of Sleep Deprivation and Natural Cures for Insomnia

Help, I Can’t Sleep! Effects of Sleep Deprivation and Natural Cures for Insomnia

What are the effects of sleep deprivation, and what can we do to improve the duration and quality of our sleep?


High-quality sleep is getting scarcer and scarcer these days thanks to ever-increasing obesity rates, work hours, TV watching, video game playing, and other distractions that keep us up at night.

To research average sleep habits, the CDC followed 74,751 adults in 12 states. According to the findings published in 2011, 35.3% of people reported less than 7 hours of sleep per night, 38% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month, and 4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.

Sleep insufficiency has been linked to auto crashes, industrial disas­ters, and medical and other occupational errors. It can also increase risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and can­cer; increase mortality; and reduce quality of life and productivity.

When your body is asleep, it might look inactive, but that’s far from the case. It’s very busy repairing tissue and producing hormones—functions that are especially important if you’re subjecting your body to increased lev­els of stress every day through exercise.

So, let’s look at some of the various effects sleep has on our ability to achieve our health and fitness goals, and what we can do to improve the quality of our sleep.

Sleep and Weight Loss

A large amount of fat loss occurs while you sleep for two reasons.

Your body burns quite a few calories while you sleep (a 160-lb. person burns about 70 calories per hour), and much of it must come from fat stores because you haven’t eaten any food in several hours. Furthermore, much of your body’s growth hormone is produced while you’re sleeping, further stimulating fat loss.

With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the amount we sleep affects our weight-loss efforts and overall health.

In a study conducted by the University of Chicago, 10 overweight adults followed a weight-loss diet (caloric restriction) for 2 weeks. One group slept 8.5 hours per night; the other, 5.5. The 5.5-hour group lost 55% less fat and 60% more muscle than the 8.5-hour group, and on top of that, they experienced increased hunger throughout the day.

This correlation has been observed elsewhere as well. Research con­ducted by the National Center for Global Health and Medicine associat­ed shorter sleep duration with increased levels of body fat. There’s also evidence that acute sleep loss causes insulin resistance to a level similar to someone with type 2 diabetes, which can increase the rate at which your body stores carbohydrates as fat.

Sleep and Hormones

Insufficient sleep can negatively impact our hormone profiles.

Another study conducted by the University of Chicago found that when 10 healthy men reduced sleep for a week from about 9 hours per night to 5, their testosterone levels dropped by up to 14% during the day.

It’s also known that insufficient sleep decreases growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-1) levels, which play important roles in maintaining muscle mass.

Sleep and Athletic Performance

While you would think that sleep deprivation has profound effects on strength and speed, research says otherwise.

A study conducted by the Imam Khomeini International University demonstrated that one night of sleep deprivation didn’t affect anaerobic power in male participants, but did impair reaction times.

A study conducted by the Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine had 11 male subjects undergo 60 hours of sleep deprivation and then perform repetitions of forearm and leg exercises. They found that the sleep-deprived group performed equally as well as the group that slept 7 hours per night in reaction time and muscular performance.

Further research by the same institute, however, found that sleep deprivation does negatively affect time to exhaustion (subjects couldn’t exercise as long before feeling exhausted) and perceived exertion (the workouts felt harder).

A practical takeaway from these findings is that you don’t have to skip your workout if you slept less than usual, but in general, try to get a good night’s sleep as frequently as you can.

My experience lines up with the above findings: Sleep-deprived workouts are tough to get through, and while I often lose a rep or two (reduced muscle endurance), my strength isn’t negatively affected.

Now, while sleep deprivation doesn’t necessarily impair athletic performance, studies indicate that extended sleep may improve it. Research conducted by Stanford University demonstrated that when basketball players extended sleep from 6–9 hours per night to at least 10 hours per night, they ran faster, shot more accurately, had better reaction times, and felt more physically and mentally fit during practices and games.

How Much Sleep Should We Get?

Sleep needs vary from individual to individual, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night to avoid the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

Since genetics and age affect how much sleep your body optimally needs, a simple way to determine what’s optimal for you is to pick a two-week period such as a vacation and go to bed at the same time each night without an alarm set.

Chances are you’ll sleep longer than usual at first if you have “sleep debt” to cancel out, but toward the end of the second week, your body will establish a pattern of sleeping about the same amount every night. And it’s trying to tell you something: That’s exactly how much sleep it needs.

The Best Natural Sleep Aids

Most people know they should sleep 7–9 hours, but it’s easier said than done. As of 2006, it’s estimated that 50–70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder.

Hypnotic drugs like Ambien, Rozerem, and Sepracor are common so­lutions, but they have been associated with a host of rather scary side effects, including:

Relying on these types of drugs is clearly not ideal. Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to naturally improve your sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep. We all know that caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, but many don’t know that alcohol may disrupt their shuteye. It can help bring on sleep, but a couple hours after drinking, alcohol acts as a stimulant and can increase the number of awakenings during the night.
  • Make getting enough sleep a priority. Just as you give priority to proper diet and exercise, getting to bed on time must be non-negotiable.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, which are all cues for the brain to put the body to sleep. Don’t expose yourself to bright lights while you’re getting ready for bed because this can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep.
  • Don’t watch TV or use a computer, tablet, or smartphone for at least an hour before bed. These devices emit a type of light known as “blue light,” which is a powerful melatonin suppressant.
  • Establish a relaxing pre-sleep routine, such as taking a bath, reading a book, listening to calming music, and stretching or doing breathing exercises. Avoid stressful or stimulating conversations or activity.
  • Don’t just lie in bed staring at the clock. This can stress you, in turn causing your body to produce cortisol, which keeps you awake. Instead, ignore the clock, and if you’re unable to fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time, get up and occupy yourself with a quiet, soothing activity like reading or listening to music until your eyes become droopy. Then go back to bed.
  • Keep your body’s internal clock regulated by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Waking up at the same time despite when you went to bed is the best way to set your body’s clock and maintain it.
  • Don’t exercise too late. Finish your workout at least 3 hours before bedtime to allow cortisol levels and body temperature to drop, which is conducive to sleep. (Gentle stretching before bed, on the other hand, is a great way to unwind.)

There are also several natural supplements you can take to sleep better.

Melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep, is sold as a dietary supplement. Research has shown that supplementation with melatonin can help you fall asleep faster, and sleep better.

The common clinical supplementation protocol used is 3-6 mg 30 minutes before bed.


Click here to buy melatonin on Amazon.com

GABA, also known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an amino acid that helps stimulate relaxation and sleep. Research has shown that low brain levels of GABA causes increased wakings after falling asleep, and that supplementation with GABA can induce relaxation, and help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and improve the quality of your sleep.

The common clinical supplementation protocol used is 500-600 mg before going to bed.


Click here to buy GABA on Amazon.com

Do you have any other tips for sleeping well? Have anything else you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • terry

    Hey Mike I take one benadryl before bed most nights. Works great but I was wondering if you’ve heard of negative side effects from this ?

    • Michael Matthews

      Not of this specifically but I haven’t looked into it either. Ideally you don’t want to be ingesting any type of drug every day.

      • Ryan

        Mike, thoughts on 5HTP?

        • Michael Matthews

          I’m actually currently trying it but can’t really say I notice anything.

  • Okami

    Great post, I have been struggling with this in particularly.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Glad you liked it. I hope it helps you sleep better!

  • Heather Winberry

    Thank you for this great article. I have a questions for you though. You said you cant use tablets before bed what about e-ink readers such as the nook and kindle? Can you use those before bed to read? Thank you.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Heather! I’m glad you liked it.

      Great question. If you’re using a light that comes with your case, you’re fine as it isn’t the blue light. The light built into the new Kindle paperwhite MAY be blue, I’m actually not sure.

      • mwelbornhp

        Mike, good article. Thanks! Want to recommend to your readers that they get an app or program for their electronic devices that turns off the blue-light before bed. I use Twilight by Urbandroid Team (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.urbandroid.lux) for my android device and F.Lux (https://justgetflux.com/) for my Windows devices. Both have schedulers and will shift the color spectrum automatically at times I determine, and both can be enabled or disabled easily with widgets and such. Both appear to change the screen red-ish, but, as you said, are actually removing the blue light. I find them both good for reading in bed. When I want to look at images that have a lot of color in them (surfing Pinterest, for example; bad habit, I know) and turn off the app, I notice a difference immediately in the visual alertness/stimulation, for lack of a better term.

  • Quentin

    Another great article. Thanks Mike.

    For me, at the minute, I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of sleep until I get my life in order. Once I have the job I want, working for myself, I’ll be able to dedicate more time to sleep. Right now there really isn’t time enough in the day for me to sleep 8/9 hours, work, workout AND achieve my career goals.

    I just hope it won’t be too long!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I totally understand. It’s the same for me. I sleep about 6 hours per night but do totally fine on it. *shrug* I’m a cyborg I guess.

  • Scott

    I’ve dealt with insomnia for a long time. I used melatonin for a short while, but my body seemed to build up a tolerance to it. Now I use a natural supplement called Valerian Root. It seriously works wonders for me…and has for over a year now. There’s also a great tea called “Organic Nighty Night Tea” that helps you get tired. Combine the tea and the Valarian Root and you won’t be able to stay awake…and you won’t feel groggy in the morning either.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Scott. I’ve heard seen mixed reviews on valerian root both in literature and anecodtal evidence. I’m glad it’s working well for you though! That’s great.

  • floatingopera

    Important post Mike! thanks. a few other suggestions: You can brew a strong batch of chamomile tea. That stuff works. You can also consider taking the Amino acid L-tryptophan which in the evening will naturally convert to melatonin. GABA can really be effective as mentioned, it is our bodies natural tranquilizer. Whatever you do listen to your body first.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Good tips. I totally forgot about L-trypt.

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  • Naldo

    Combination of GABA, 5HTP and Melatonin works wonders. Makes me a bit sleepy but where it really works is once you fall asleep you will not wake up in the middle of the night and even if you get 6hrs of sleep you wake up well rested. Definitely a route I would recommend for people wanting to keep it natural and stay away from prescription and OTC drugs.

    • Michael Matthews

      Nice. I’ve tried 5HTP for nootropic purposes but didn’t notice anything.

  • Dave

    Hello I take 20mg tmazapam because I don’t sleep propley but I also have sleep apnea so wake up few times every night. I have tried a few sleeping pills off the doc but did not work .
    Can you suggest any alliterative please because I am all ways tired in the morning. Dave

    • Michael Matthews

      Arg I’m sorry to hear that. Unfortunately I don’t know of anything reliable beyond what I’ve recommended in this article…

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  • Guest

    Hi Mike,
    I do finish my workouts 4-5 hrs. before go to sleep but still can’t sleep. I usually was sleeping in 5 mins. and never wake up before I start to do exercise. I think it is because of caffeine that I get as pre-workout supplement but I am trying to cut so I am in fasted state when I go to the gym and I can’t change the hours coz of my job. This is affecting my performance in the the gym next day even sometimes I feel so exhausted and can’t go to the gym coz of this. I am taking tons of supplements so I don’t want to use drugs for sleep really. This is a huge problem for me really.

    • Michael Matthews

      Ah yeah it’s most likely the caffeine. Cut it back or cut it out altogether. What do you think?

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  • Elizabeth

    Mike, my husband says that it seems like after he’s been working out after a while, it’s harder to get comfortable in bed. He will get uncomfortable from positions faster and if he sleeps with his elbows bent too much it makes his hands go numb… I’m not sure if this has anything to do with pre-workout, alcohol, vitamins, etc.

    • Michael Matthews

      Hmm could just be related to muscle?

  • Seth

    Hi Mike,

    The past couple months I’ve been experiencing shoulder/upper arm pain which has affected my upper body workouts. At first, I thought it may have been attributed to over training, but then I noticed the pain was at its worst when I woke up during the night and in the morning, Most of my life I have been a side sleeper and I have recently read this sleep position places a lot of stress on your shoulders so I’m thinking this is my issue. Any thoughts/advice/recs regarding sleep position? As always, thanks in advance for your valuable insight.


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  • Ryan


    Have you come across research that indicates a potential for becoming dependent on sleep supplements?

    • Michael Matthews

      No I haven’t.

  • David
    • Michael Matthews

      Gives me a scientific reason to keep sleeping 6.5 hours per night. 🙂

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  • Morgen

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the article! I was wondering if taking a (non natural) sleep aid such as unisom (doxylamin) interferes with the body’s hormones/processes? In other words, will it affect/hinder my body’s ability to recovery, burn fat, regulate hormones, etc. specifically during sleep?

    Thanks!!! 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      YW! I’m not sure. I haven’t looked into sleep drugs.

  • luiskgt

    Hello to all …. Great read, this website is just the best one. Mike, i have been reading everything you have posted, BLS included, and followed the program with great results, tracking my macros and everything, but im now a better skinny fat than before, but haven’t got yo the point. Could it be that ever since i can remmember i wake up every two hours at night? And never get a full 7 hours night of sleep? Maybe i am not getting as much REM as i need? I feel good un the morning thou….thanks un advance for sharing

    • Thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

      Not getting enough sleep is rough on the body. No doubt about it…

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  • Jim Walker

    Great suggestions Mike,
    I have heard that orange lens glasses can block the blue light from affecting you from most devices. I bought a cheap pair for like $9 and it seems like at night, the computer doesn’t mess with my sleep anymore, but not sure if placebo or not. Also, I would check out f.lux if you haven’t, its a computer program that changes the colors on your screen at night so it doesn’t mess up your sleep.

    • Thanks! Yup there’s research on both the glasses and flux. 🙂

  • mwelbornhp

    Michael, good article. Thanks!

    Recommend to your readers that
    they get an app or program for their electronic devices that turns off
    the blue-light before bed. I use Twilight by Urbandroid Team (https://play.google.com/store/… for my android device and F.Lux (https://justgetflux.com/)
    for my Windows devices. Both have schedulers and will shift the color
    spectrum automatically at times I determine, and both can be enabled or
    disabled easily with widgets and such. Both appear to change the screen
    red-ish, but, as you said, are actually removing the blue light. I find
    them both good for reading in bed. When I want to look at images that
    have a lot of color in them (surfing Pinterest, for example; bad habit, I
    know) and turn off the app, I notice a difference immediately in the
    visual alertness/stimulation, for lack of a better term.

  • Kevin Quinn

    I had trouble sleeping after I was diagnosed with shingles. The neuralgia from moving in bed or even breathing caused me wake. Since then I have used valerian and I find it helps me obtain a deep sleep.

  • Franken Steine

    First I want to say this is a great article and because of it I’ve really been trying to make getting enough sleep a priority. But I find myself waking up a couple times in the middle of the night and though I feel I’m able to get 7 hours it is not uninterrupted….does that impair my muscle preservation and fat loss in any way?

    • Thanks!

      7 hours is pretty good.

      • Franken Steine

        So it doesn’t matter if my sleep is interrupted as long as I at least get 7 hours?

        • I’m sure uninterrupted is better but can’t say for sure on the effects. Haven’t looked into it.

  • Franken Steine

    Ya I’m sure it is. Well thanks to your diet and exercise recommendations I lost some of my stubborn lower belly fat. Soon I’ll be able to start bulking, which I’m really looking forward to. Thanks for all the help

    • Happy to hear it! Glad you’re excited to bulk. I look forward to seeing your results.

      My pleasure!

  • TD

    I’ve suffered from insomnia on/off since college. The week before my menstrual cycle was always the worst. Anyway, once I started supplementing with vitamin D and magnesium (due to low levels), the insomnia went away pretty quickly. Turns out if you are low in either of these, you won’t sleep well (or at all). Even soaking in an Epsom salts bath before bed will help you to get drowsy. I much prefer the natural methods over prescription sleep aids because they don’t have the scary side effects.

    • Dang. That sucks. 🙁

      Glad you were able to correct it with the right, natural supplements!

      Definitely prefer the natural way when at all possible.

  • Rob

    hi mike – im pretty deep into my cut (week 9) and have started having trouble sleeping as i get leaner. have you experienced this? i know a good dose of carbs before bed could help, but i work out in the am and have most of my carbs around at that time. thanks for any advice!

    • Yeah you can run into cortisol issues after being in a deficit for a bit.

      IMO raise your daily intake but a couple hundred calories for a week and cut out the cardio and see if that helps. If so then get back at it.

      • Rob

        i went up 200 calories and have already noticed a big difference. thanks mike!

  • Gustavo De Almeida Luiz

    Can I suggest you a book?
    Power Sleep, Dr. James B. Maas

  • Hello Mike, I drink 5 cups of coffee/day. I guess I should cut that down to around 3? I don’t have insomnia but I have weird sleeping hours because I am not currently working. I find that if I don’t have a job that I am forced to get up for I can’t keep a normal sleeping routine.

    And if I worked for myself I don’t know if I’d have the kind of discipline you have either. Unless I was really passionate about what I did. Since I am only studying right now I find my body wants to sleep during the day and be awake during the night which really annoys me.

    Anyway I will try to drink less coffee and to not look at the computer screen before I go to sleep because that is what I usually do, and when I can’t sleep I go back to looking at it. I’ll just try to read whenever I can’t sleep. As for medication the only thing that has ever worked for me is strong sleeping tablets and I know the health risks involved so I’m not sure taking any medication it worth it at all.


    • That’s a lot of coffee! Even at 3 cups.

      Yeah sleep takes discipline too. Try adjusting your schedule bit by bit. Get up earlier, sleep earlier. You’ll have a good routine in no time.

      Sounds good man. Try out the suggestions and LMK.

      • Yeah that’s kind of hard to believe as my body seems to have a will of its own by I will try the things you suggested and drink less coffee. Thanks!

  • P Mort

    I think I’m overtrained as per another thread, but it could just be poor sleep as well. My issue is I have an upstairs neighbor who doesn’t like to go to bed until like 1 am, and while he’s mostly quiet WRT his radio or TV volumes, his footsteps are like the TRex from Jurassic Park stomping around, but at a much quicker, human cadence, and it startles me awake every. time.

    Again, not sure if overtraining is exacerbating this and making me more sensitive to this noise, but I’m at wits end and not sure what to do at this point. Ear plugs plus the a/c and fan on high aren’t helping.

    • Oh man…sorry to hear about your neighbor. That can really mess with your sleep. Looks like you’ll have to take up the issue with him if melatonin doesn’t help you fall into a nice deep sleep.

      • P Mort

        I thought that was the cause but turns out it wasn’t. Dealing with some form of mid-insomnia. Getting to sleep isn’t an issue, maintaining it beyond 4 hours is.

        • Ah okay. Have you tried applying the points from this article?

          • P Mort

            I can’t think of anything in the article I haven’t done yet, so yes.

            I think there’s several things going on. I’ve been stressed out of my mind lately which I’m sure is contributing, but I feel like I should be able to get back to sleep after waking. As I mentioned that I was exhausted from overtraining, I think I may have “caught up” after some rest as I’ve felt more energized, but I kept taking it easy from the gym because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go back. So I wonder if I’m just eating too much (confession, haven’t maintained cut-level calories, I’ve been eating a lot more), drinking water too close to bed time, and not working out as my body has been used to.

            Anyway, had another bout of “wake at 2 am, don’t get back to sleep” this morning so I went and did my leg workout with quite a burst of energy so we’ll see if that helps.

          • P Mort


            I hadn’t really cut back on my protein intake while I took a rest break from weights and been only walking. Each night I wake my stomach feels like a nuclear reactor and I’m farting constantly…so, possibly consuming too much protein for not working out enough? Like, I’m “caught up”, so to speak?

          • Doubtful. Something around 0.8 grams per pound of FFM is a good baseline for everyone, regardless of whether they exercise or not.

          • High levels of stress can really do it. Have you tried mitigating that? Have you seen this?


  • ProgNorth

    Ahhh but sleep can be fleeting, for those of us with wonky schedules. I’ve just purchased your book from Amazon, as I enjoy your writings and ideas ( and frankly the results of others ), but as far as sleep goes, I have issues.
    I work a rotating continental shift…2 weeks days…2 weeks nights ( 12 hours per shift ) Mon/Tues on, Wed/Thurs off, Fri/Sat/Sun on, Mon/Tues off, Wed/Thurs on, Fri/Sat/Sun off.
    As you can imagine – after years of this – my sleep is pretty screwy. I would say, I average 5 to 6 hours ( on day shift or nights ), with off and on naps on the couch. So as you see 7-9 hours sleep will not be happening for me.
    I’m 51 yrs old and determined to become successful in getting ‘Bigger and Leaner’. Are you ( or more specifically your book ), still up to the challenge, Michael? 🙂
    Btw….I assume that I will be concentrating on my workouts, on my off work days?…..BOY I HOPE SO!

    • That’s great you’re enjoying the content! Quite the work schedule you have there…

      Yeah, you can still be successful with BLS.

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  • Antonio Calhau

    Why you do use Gaba in your sleep suplement?

    • Why do I or don’t I?

      • Antonio Calhau

        Sorry. Why dont you?

        I bought your 2 books, bigger leaner stronger and the and the year one challange. Its possible to get a mobile/virtual/pdf version? i can send my receipt!

        Thanks! 🙂

        • Totally! Shoot me an email:

          mike at muscleforlife dot com

  • Hey Mike, I’m worried about my sleep and how it’s affecting my goals. I have sleep apnea–or “something like it,” the doctor says. I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night (I’d like to get 8, but with my lifestyle and my work hours, that’s not doable most of the time). But even if I get 7 hours of sleep, apparently my brain is awake for a lot of that time, so my sleep study says. Indeed, I’m falling asleep during the day. I have a CPAP machine, but it actually keeps me awake more than helps.

    I’m afraid this is getting in the way of building muscle. I’ve been working out for about 15 years, but I’ve been “doing it right” for only 1 year, focusing on heavy lifting and putting cardio on the back-burner. I should be able to gain about 5-10 pounds of muscle during that first year, right? Well, I think over the past year, I’ve gained about 2-3 pounds, if that. I don’t have problems losing fat though; my cutting phases are usually quick.

    I’m in the middle of trying to get follow-up doctor appointments to solve this problem, but so far any medical advice hasn’t been very successful. Do you have any advice on what to do in the meantime or how to handle this?

    I should add that, if I get to bed at about 8-9 p.m., I usually wake up without the need of an alarm clock at about 3:45 a.m. the next morning. (I start work at 6:30 a.m. and fit my workout in before that, so 3:45 isn’t too far off when I want to wake up). So my body naturally wakes me up.

    • Damn. Sorry to hear about the sleep troubles. Have you tried applying ALL point in this article?

      On the amount of muscle you can gain in the first year of proper training, 5-10 pounds should be doable, but sleep, the kind of training you were doing before, how much of the year you were bulking and if you were dieting will play a role in the your overall results.

      So, let’s try applying all points from this article and keep working with the doc for a solution for your sleep, and let’s make sure your dieting is on point:


      And of course, keep up the proper training, and the results will come.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • I’m reviewing it just to make sure, but I think I’m on track. I bought some melatonin the other day after reading this article, but that doesn’t seem to help. Other than that, I’m keeping track of my calories and macros, drinking tons of water, and keeping up with my resistance training. In fact, I’m on a deload week right now, but I’m feeling antsy to get back to the full fight. Part of me can’t stand deload weeks. 😛 Anyway, I have an appointment scheduled next week with the sleep specialist to get fitted for another CPAP tube, and I saw my regular doctor yesterday about this. I’ve also got an appointment on April 20th with the hospital about some alternatives to CPAP. Hopefully that does something.

  • rodrigo

    Quick about me:
    – I’ve been following BLS for a few weeks and have been eating to drop some body fat (generally healthy overall).
    – I follow the high-protein (1.2g per pound of body weight), high-carb diet (1g per pound of body weight) at 25% caloric deficit like the articles suggest.
    – I’ve been eating very clean and not drinking alcohol, caffeine, etc.
    – I follow the sleep advice in this article: in bed by 9PM every night, winding down electronics before then, not eating a few hours before bed (6PM), good bedroom atmosphere.
    – I wake up at 5 to then lift and cardio fasted.

    1. I have noticed that every night, I seem to wake up about four hours in to urinate – is this normal? I’ve seen articles/random forums about high protein possibly making this happen more frequently, but is it usual to wake me up when starting this? If so, will I “grow out of it”?

    2. Would you recommend possibly supplementing here or maybe give it another couple of weeks?

    • Hey Rodrigo, that’s great you’ve been following BLS for a few weeks.

      1. I suggest not drinking as much water before bed
      2. No problem taking supplements right now.

  • Miz Eloise

    what is the threshold of time from the hour we workout should we be sleeping?.whats it the threshold that we should be resyong before it becomes detrimental to muscle growth. i workout at odd hours and sometimes sleep 15 or 17 hours i have last worked out. is that ok? sometimes i even do 2 workouts ( there are at )east 6 hours interval between) before sleeping.

    • That’s totally fine. Just make sure it’s been at least 3 hours since you worked out last before going to bed.

  • Ryan Brain

    Hi Mike,

    Recently I’ve been having trouble staying asleep. I started a bulking phase in February and have been growing nicely, working out about 3 or 4 hours before going to bed, and after 7 weeks I started noticing sleeplessness and other signs that I needed to take a week off, so I did. By the end of that week my sleep patterns were back to normal and I felt ready to get back to the gym. But the night after my first workout that week was very restless, the same throughout the week and it’s happening again this week too.

    So today I worked out at lunch. When I got home from work around 7 I ate, had a bath and played some video games, watched some videos, had a glass of wine, generally relaxed. I was tired by 10:30 so went to bed, and woke up at 3am. I’m still awake 2 hours later. My body temperature is raised and I feel fairly wide awake.

    I’m going to skip a workout today to see what happens.

    Am I pushing myself too hard in my workouts? I’m eating at a 10% surplus and I’m training hard, that’s how you gain size! So what can I do to get better rest and recover properly?


  • Briscan Andrei

    Hi Mike & Co ! What about cold showers or cold bathes before going to sleep ? I hear that they reduce your body temperature and make you sleep better . It is true or is another BS ?

    • I mean, it could help you fall asleep better. But, it’s not like your body temp will stay down all night. You’re gonna warm up again!

  • Greg Holden

    Hi ya Mike and Rodger, does being in a calorie deficit make induce sleeplessness moreover make it to fall in to deep sleep . Myself, I wake up every few hours. This is a viscous cycle as the less you sleep the harder cutting is. I have noticed the more I eat I specially carbs making sleeping easier. Bear in mind I am 20, so with enough calories and time I can sleep for 9-10 hours. I was wondering if you guys have noticed this when dieting and if so you do to combat it while still losing weight?

    • Cutting affects your hormones, so it’s possibly affecting your sleep. Legion has a product to help with sleep. Check it out if you need some help sleeping:


      • Greg Holden

        Thanks Mike, I hear your going to be on Amazon UK soon so that will be getting bought with fat loss stack!

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