T Nation

Sleep and Lifting


Hello everyone. Okay so I have been lifting the past year and put on about 45 pounds, but I have been having this problem recently. The quality of my sleep has been atrocious. I thought maybe I was over training so I bumped up my calories. Nothing. Took more rest days. Nothing.

I recently underwent gynecomastia surgery and a back operation to remove a few moles, not a big deal. I figured this would be the perfect time to let my body fully heal. I took three weeks off, on the fourth week did some very relaxed lifting, just to get my body used to the stress. However as soon as I went back to lifting more seriously, my sleep problem came back. I toss and turn the whole night, wake up early, etc. I have used melatonin and ZMA to no avail.

My diet is pretty good (enough calories, enough protein). However I am wondering, because I generally stay under 8 reps for training, if this could be affecting my sleep in a negative way? No idea really. Any tips, suggestions, would be greatly appreciated.


If the time you are lifting is too close ( less than 5 yours or so ) to the time you normally sleep, then that might be the problem due to multiple factors ( supplements, cortisol, elevated heart rate, etc... ). Otherwise I cannot offer any other explanation.


Do you workout before going to bed (<3hours) ? Some peoples can't handle that training schedule and have sleep issues when they do.

As far as overtraining goes, to reach that point you would need a shit ton of physical work in a week and have poor eating habit.

Your sleep problems are most likely not due to lifting, there's a TON of factors that can affect your sleep.

Good luck in your quest for a better sleep.


Thanks very much. As far as my lifting schedule, I lift after school so I am m in the gym by 3:00pm and out by 3:30pm.

I had a tub of NO explode and used to take it (I did NOT buy this, free) but stopped taking it a while ago, and currently do not take anything beside fish oil, whey, and a multi-vitamin. I never had a sleep a issue when I took the NO explode.

I know I am not over training, because I am growing then I must be recovering and the only time I ever felt like I was over training was two a day football practice, with lifting on top of that, and even then I slept like a god damn rock.

What I am thinking is maybe try higher rep ranges? Idk if your body releases more adrenaline or something when you lift in lower rep ranges, just a guess; please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks again.


Training either for conditioning/endurance or strength/hypertrophy will result in a "increased metabolism speed" for a certain period of time after training. Changing your "rep-range" isn't the problem.

How's the stress ? Do you have somewhat constant sleep pattern/routine ? Got any bloodtest recently ? You said you had gyno surgery, are your E/Test levels in check ?

There's so much factors the best help you could get is from your doctor. I do have phase of insomnia. But my causes aren't the same as yours.

Edit and while we are on T-Nation, have you tried simply having sex/jerk it off before bed ? Sometimes the simplest trick works.


What's your eating schedule like? Eating or not eating close to bedtime would be something to play with.


If your blood sugar levels are pretty low before you go to bed, you'll struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep (sleep will be light).

Working out will deplete your "sugar stores" somewhat.

A good way to over-come this is to eat plenty carbs around workout time (which is pretty standard anyway), and before you go to sleep make sure you have a low GI source of carbs (e.g. 2 slices of wholemeal bread with protein).

The old trick they used to use all the time was a glass of warm milk and 2 teaspoons of sugar :slightly_smiling:

Not saying that's definitely the issue, but it sure does help


I have a pretty consistent sleep schedule, on weekends I usually only go out one night a week but I am in bed by 2 at the latest.

No clue what my hormone levels are, but the gyno was from puberty and extremely mild no one even noticed except me.

I eat a ton of carbs around workout (130 grams before and 60 after), however usually my first solid meal after training does not have carbs (trace), should I include some in this meal? This meal is usually around 5 and I try to get into bed by 8:30.

I have not been eating before I go to bed, simply because I am stuffing my face all day (gotta love a fast metabolism) but it should not be a problem to eat a little something before bed. I will definitely try the milk. And hopefully get to try the sex thing, I will just tell her its to help me sleep......

Its probably a stress thing. I have midterms, applying to colleges, new GF, work, you get the picture.

Thanks for the help everyone.


Wow that's an early bedtime :slight_smile:

Yeh definitely have a light snack before bed (with low GI carbs...slow digesting). Obviously, a really heavy meal will have the opposite effect though.

Example snack - Wholemeal bread, protein shake with whole-fat milk, banana

If you're interested, you may want to look into herbal sleep aids (e.g. "Kalms Sleep"). Good herbs to look out for:



Whats your caffiene intake like? One day a few years back I became unable to sleep on command if I had had caffiene in the past, say, 5 hours, so I cut it out by 5-6 usually now.

And lifting early, while I hate it, knocks me out early. Like going in 530 or 6 before school/work/whatever. Might kick start your sleep schedule to do it once or twice if you arent able to make a habit of it.


also Bacopa as an herb

then there is Melatonin, a hormone

GABA, an amino acid

or this site's Z12, which is a nice sleep stack with a GABA derivative, phenibut IIRC


What everyone else said but....

Sometimes when you think too much about sleeping, you can't sleep.

Maybe you expected not to be able to sleep when you started training again and obviously, you can't sleep.

If this is the case I think the best way to resolve the issue is to go into bed with the mindset of, 'I really don't care if I get 2 hours of sleep or 8 hours of sleep,' instead of 'fuck, I can't fall sleep,' and you'll probably be back to normal in no time.