growth during sleep

whats the story with sleep time. most “experts” keep saying atleast 8 hours for hard trainers and that 10 hours is even better. yet in other unrelated literature i have heard that during the first four hours of sleep the body is in anabolic state and uses available protein to repair and build muscle(asuming you eaten before going to bed). after the first four hours of sleep the body then goes into a catabolic state. so wouldn’t it be better to sleep for around 6 hours and get up and eat a quickly digested protein as soon as possible?

I remember reading about many of the pro bodybuilders getting up at night to drink a protein shake to help stave off the catabolic state. I, for one, always find that interupting my sleep for any reason leaves me feeling less rested, even if the total sleep time is the same.

Sleep is more for the Central Nervous System/general health. If you think sleep may be the enemy, try an experiment. Set your alarm so that you’re never allowed more than 3-4 hours of sleep a day for a week or two. I guarantee you’ll be less alert in general. You’ll be less motivated in the weight room and not able to put up as much weight. You’ll be more vulnerable to getting very sick with the flu. You may even be noticeably jittery. And even if you just choose to limit yourself to 6 hours versus your normally restful 8, that 2 hours lost sleep will accumulate over time. I worked with a guy who ended up acquiring a special 3 month contract to guard a location. His schedule only allowed him 2-4 hours of sleep a day for 3 months. At the end of the 3 months, he literally slept for 2 weeks straight only getting up for visits to the bathroom. Yes, there is a catabolic element to sleep, but remember that the body rebuilds muscles that was previously there very quickly in the presence of proper exercise and diet. You may lose small amounts of muscle proteins in your sleep, but you will easily gain them back and more during the anabolism the next day if you’re eating and training right.

do you have a address or name for the article you are talking about?..BTW if you do try the experment jeff suggested, i think it would be better if you just drink ALOT more water before you went to bed so you will wake up more naturally then a alarm clock (i hope that makes sense to you)

Actually, the catabolic element of sleep is not the sleep itself, but the long “fasting” the body does while away from food for 6-8-10 hours. I’ve seen studies that show growth hormone is released mostly during sleep. Of course, if there aren’t any building blocks to work with, no growth (or repair) occurs.

The weird thing is that I read in an issue of Dinosaur Files that Dr Ken Leistner (an iron game legend) says he only needs 8-10 hours of sleep a week!!!. That sure leaves time for a lot of other activites!!