The protein is a critical macronutrient in our diet and plays an important role in facilitating the adaptive response of muscles to training, especially strength training in order to gain muscle mass (hypertrophy).
This adaptive response to training can be improved with a protein intake before sleep.
Important priors to consider regarding protein
It is well known that both the amount of protein and the source / origin of it are very important in the diet, and even more if we train strength in order to gain muscle mass.
In turn, there is growing evidence that moment adequate consumption of this protein (protein timing) is important to maximize protein synthesis rates of skeletal muscle and optimize post-workout muscle reconditioning.
The management of these three aspects (quantity, source or origin and moment or timing) modulates the anabolism of the post-workout muscle protein.
Common dietary strategies to improve protein synthesis
Gym users who train strength, largely for the purpose of gaining muscle mass, usually consume 20-25 grams of high quality protein ( whey protein ) immediately after training.
This strategy is used to increase muscle protein synthesis rates during the acute stages of post-workout recovery.
In turn, several studies indicate that taking this protein before and even during strength training can be as effective as taking it immediately after training.
That is to say, that consuming protein before and / or during our training can also stimulate muscle protein synthesis during training, thus creating a longer period of time for said protein synthesis to be elevated.
On the other hand, few studies have evaluated the effects of ingesting protein before sleeping in protein synthesis and post-training recovery.
What are the benefits of protein intake before sleep?
It has been reported that the rates of muscle protein synthesis during our nighttime sleep are relatively low.
This means that consuming only 20-25 grams of protein immediately after finishing our training in the afternoon is not enough to optimize the night muscle reconditioning.
If we include an ingestion of protein before sleeping, it will be digested and absorbed properly , resulting in a continuous supply of amino acids derived from the protein of the diet into the circulation.
Keep in mind that if this protein is in the form of whey protein ( whey protein ), it will be digested and absorbed even more quickly.
It has been proven that this greater availability of amino acids during nighttime sleep increases post-workout muscle protein synthesis rates.
This goes to say that during the night it stimulates the growth of the protein and improves the total body protein balance.
The consumption of protein in the diet before sleep can represent an adequate dietary strategy in strength training, especially the one that aims to gain muscle mass, being effective for:
- Inhibit the degradation of muscle protein.
- Stimulate the synthesis of muscle protein.
- Facilitate the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to training.
- Improve the effectiveness of the training even more.
But not only such nocturnal dietary strategies can be effective for the growth of muscle mass (goal of hypertrophy in many gym users), but also can support the maintenance of muscle mass in both health and disease.