T Nation

Sleep and Progress

Hi gang,

I know that lack of adequate sleep is bad for bulking, but how about leaning/dieting? I sleep about 5-6 hrs/day during the week (due to work and travel) and sleep for about 12+ hrs/day on Fri/Sat.

Thanks. :slight_smile:


Holy cow Stella…12+ hours!!! Damn girl. You must be exhausted by the time the weekend comes around. I average about 6-7 hours per night. For the life of me, I cant sleep in past 7:30AM at the latest…it sucks! As for your question…I have no clue about adequate sleep while dieting. I just wanted to hound on ya a little bit…haha (wink). Talk to you later…Tony G

Why do you sleep that much on the weekends? I never understood people that altered their sleep patterns that much. It’s hard to do for a long period of time. Most people I think would do better on keeping night hrs. of sleep consistent if you can. So my suggestion would be to only sleep 6 hrs. on the weekends w/ a 2-3 hr. nap in the day.

12+? PLUS??? Stella, holy crap.

Tony G & CGB – Yes. 12+ hrs/day on Fri/Sat. My sleep pattern gets very much altered due to the time difference (3 hr difference due to my weekly commute between CA and VA). And the fact that I’m very tired on Fri/Sat.

Machine – if I could, I’d sleep 8 hrs/everyday, but it’s just not possible due to my job. 6 hr/day is on the high side during the week, since on Sunday, I sleep less than 4 hrs if I’m taking the first flight to CA. By Thursday, I’m sleep-deprived so I end up sleeping like the dead on Fri/Sat. I just wanted to know how negative this was to leaning.


Don’t worry Stella, met too (12+).

Stella, I know how you feel. I get to work at 6am most weekdays and so I also rarely get more than 6 hours of sleep on weeknights. Then I make up for it on the weekends. One negative about this is the impact that loss of sleep has on insulin sensitivity. This is obviously not good for a cutting phase. I can’t remember right now where I read this study but if anyone is interested I could look.


would love to see the study or the summary of the study if you have it available. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Pooh - you’re still in school, right? I’d love to be in school again. sigh

I get about 5-6 hours of sleep during my work week also. But unlike you, I do not oversleep on the weekend. I tend to stick to 8 hours on my days off.

While it is not optimal for cutting or bulking, you can still make gains. Just make sure that your diet is in order, and you hit the gym regularly…but don’t over do it.

Stella…you’re getting…very…very…sl…eeee…peeee…very sleeeeeepy… :wink:

Agree with Ko. And I believe that rest/sleep is very important no matter what you’re doing (bulking, cutting). Just make sure all the elements (diet, training) is in order.

Of note: during a cutting stage, I make sure I have that one day where I make like a greyhound. As in, I only move if absolutely necessary. So, I sleep in and pretty much am spending that day doing nothing (or just read, watch TV or sit around and do some art).

Stella - Here’s a few:

Scheen AJ,
Relationships between sleep quality and glucose regulation in normal humans.
Am J Physiol. 1996 Aug;271

Van Cauter E
Roles of circadian rhythmicity and sleep in human glucose regulation.
Endocr Rev. 1997 Oct;18(5):716-38.

Scheen AJ
he roles of time of day and sleep quality in modulating glucose regulation: clinical implications.
Horm Res. 1998;49(3-4):191-201.

I think sleep is more important when cutting.

Machine’s observations are dead-on.

Agree with Patricia.

Speaking of cutting and sleep, has anyone else noticed that they begin to wake up earlier and earlier as they get progressively leaner?

This happens to me every time I go on a cutting phase and my bodyfat drops down to a certain point. Lyle McDonald said a long time ago that this was due to something with a change in circadian rhythms.

If you can fit naps in during the day, that might help. One problem is that alpha level sleep is the easiest (and quickest to get), but most physiological repair happens in Delta, which is the furthest away (though some studies suggest that we actually ‘replace’ delta sleep first). So any nap you take is going to have to be at least one sleep cycle long (90 minutes). But, I do have a possible ‘alternative’ to delta sleep.

Ever get hooked up to an EEG? They run a strobe that stimulates your brain to produce alpha, beta, etc waves. You can download (for free) software that will turn your computer monitor into a strobe, and will run it at the frequency you need to get delta patterns. You can also buy a cheap adjustable strobe, and carry it with you wherever you travel. To be honest, I don’t have any illusions that this will be any better than just straight napping, but if you could ‘force’ yourself into a deeper sleep immediately, that would certainly offset a lot of the physiological negatives due to lack of sleep.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am not a med student. The doctors will probably tear me a new one on this. But hey, I’m just trying to help!

I have a fun job, where I work 1 week 1st shift, 1 week 2nd. When I’m on 1st shift, I probally sleep about 5 hours a night. When I’m on 2nd, I’ll sleep for 8, but may lay in bed listening to the radio for another hour or two. And I always get more sleep on the weekends.

If I could get more sleep, I would. My problem is that I can’t fall asleep at will. I don’t know what it’s like going to sleep before midnight. I use ZMA and Melatonin, but it still takes a while for me to fall asleep. Tylenol PM seems to work, but I don’t want to take that every night. (Any suggestions on how I can fall asleep?)
If I could go to bed at 10 when I’m on 1st shift, I would.

From what I have read, sleeping 5 hours a night can limit you progress for building muscle.


It’s funny reading your post, since I was thinking that exact same thing right before. Happens all the time during contest prep. I can easily survive on 5-hours of sleep a day.

I think it’s due to anticipation, excitement and just eating really, really clean. Plus, I’m drinking more water than usual. So, my system just feels so “clean” - like a well oiled machine. And I’m consistently revved up and ready for training, posing, etc.

I too sleep 12hrs+ during the weekends. When I accumulate sleep debt during the week, I have to make up for it on the weekends.

I average around 4hours(1a.m.-4:30-5a.m.)hours of sleep during the week, and about 6hours(3a.m.-9a.m…). Around 3 days a week it’s almost impossible for me to sleep and during that night I usually end up with around 2.5-3 hours of sleep. Has not taken it’s toll on me yet as I feel fine, maybe cause it’s been happening since highschool. The weird thing is that I actually do tons of stuff during the day, when I don’t I can nap, when Im active no chance of napping.

Da Boxer


That’s a very interesting observation. I think about a friend of mine, who stays ~5% year round, and he can survive on a sleep schedule that would kill me.

Perhaps there is something to this…?