T Nation

Sleep Directly after a Workout?

After a workout I usually lay down on my bench press for a few minutes to let my heart rate settle.
I then proceed to stagger my way to the fridge to pull out a chilly pre-made protein shake.
And after I’ve downed the creamy whey goodness and grabbed a bottle of water and threw some pills down my throat. I lay back down… On the floor this time…
And I close my eyes… And I can hear the pulse of my heart in my skull.
I love this feeling… The feeling of complete… DONEness…

A few days ago, the thought came across my mind… What if I just took a snooze?
I was wondering… Since sleep has such a big part to do with recovery, how would sleeping (taking a small nap) directly after a workout effect recovery?

Furthermore…
What if I did a “late night workout,” and went through the same process as before, with the shake, water and pills followed by a quick shower and my usual melatonin dose, and then dosed off for the whole night?
Does prolonged sleep (8 + hours) directly after a workout before bedtime have any effect on the recovery process?

Ultimately I know that either of the 2 “workout to sleep” methods I mentioned WOULD be effective at building muscle because sleep is an important part of the recovery process. Sleep ANYTIME when your body needs recovery is a GOOD THING!

But my ultimate question IS… Are the methods I described above better for recovery (muscle growth) compared to someone who doesn’t go to sleep right after a workout? Just something I had on my mind.

Not sure if it is really benificial…
But it sure feels right sometimes, and sometimes what makes you feel good can ultimately reduce stress and aid recovery

if you were to workout at night, take ur shake and go to bed, you would only have whats in your belly for the whole 8 hours you sleep, when ideally you would want more than a PWO shake before retiring. I dont know how you get to sleep after a workout, usually when im finished i feel tired physically, but mentally im ‘excited’ i suppose, nd i wouldnt be able to sleep

Well I just edited my post. I use melatonin to help me sleep. Getting settled down after a workout at night wouldn’t be a problem at all for me… This might be different for other people though.

First off you should be an english major I really visioned you laying on the ground punished after a good workout but seriously though… TAKING A POWERNAP AFTER A WORKOUT IS GOOD! Take your post workout shake and than a good 30 min nap… Then ANOTHER post workout shake… It works great I do it all the time and have been progressing like crazy.

Post workout naps are good LISTENING TO YOUR BODY IS GREAT. If your body says hey I wouldnt mind a little sleep i’ve just got my ass kicked in the gym and than you fed me which I appreciate that but now can I rest for a little. GIVE IT SOME REST! You will recover alot better and go on with the rest of your day alot better.

[quote]trav123456 wrote:
Not sure if it is really benificial…
But it sure feels right sometimes, and sometimes what makes you feel good can ultimately reduce stress and aid recovery[/quote]

Agreed!

I don’t think the late at night thing is the best way to go, but…the during the day nap is good.

Hearing your heart beat in your head is therapeutic and actually meditative in nature, that will lower cortisol post workout which is always beneficial, taking a nap would increase the results.

[quote]LilDaDDyDreW wrote:
First off you should be an english major I really visioned you laying on the ground punished after a good workout but seriously though… TAKING A POWERNAP AFTER A WORKOUT IS GOOD! Take your post workout shake and than a good 30 min nap… Then ANOTHER post workout shake… It works great I do it all the time and have been progressing like crazy.

Post workout naps are good LISTENING TO YOUR BODY IS GREAT. If your body says hey I wouldnt mind a little sleep i’ve just got my ass kicked in the gym and than you fed me which I appreciate that but now can I rest for a little. GIVE IT SOME REST! You will recover alot better and go on with the rest of your day alot better.[/quote]

Hah! It’s funny you say that! That’s actually my current major! =)

[quote]Free2Be wrote:
I don’t think the late at night thing is the best way to go, but…the during the day nap is good.

Hearing your heart beat in your head is therapeutic and actually meditative in nature, that will lower cortisol post workout which is always beneficial, taking a nap would increase the results.[/quote]

Wow I didn’t know that! Thanks so much! The more you know, right?

[quote]StrongSurvive wrote:
Free2Be wrote:
I don’t think the late at night thing is the best way to go, but…the during the day nap is good.

Hearing your heart beat in your head is therapeutic and actually meditative in nature, that will lower cortisol post workout which is always beneficial, taking a nap would increase the results.

Wow I didn’t know that! Thanks so much! The more you know, right?
[/quote]

For sure…and what I should have said is that closing your eyes and listening to and concentrating on the heart beat is therapeutic and meditative…

[quote]Free2Be wrote:
StrongSurvive wrote:
Free2Be wrote:
I don’t think the late at night thing is the best way to go, but…the during the day nap is good.

Hearing your heart beat in your head is therapeutic and actually meditative in nature, that will lower cortisol post workout which is always beneficial, taking a nap would increase the results.

Wow I didn’t know that! Thanks so much! The more you know, right?

For sure…and what I should have said is that closing your eyes and listening to and concentrating on the heart beat is therapeutic and meditative…[/quote]

Yeah, it’s strange, it feels like the beat slows as I breathe in and then speeds up as I breathe out. It’s has an interesting rhythm.

Hmm I think this idea has occurred to me before, but I didn’t really think about it. Like the OP, I often feel really sleepy after lifting, and I often can’t wait to get back home and tumble into bed (after a bath of course). Unfortunately this is not always possible. I’m not sure if a PWN (Post-Workout Nap, lol) actually improves performance and recovery, cos I didn’t notice any significant improvement when I napped after every workout for a period of time, but then again, my evidence is purely anecdotal so perhaps it does have some benefit. At the very least, you will feel better if you sleep when you’re sleepy right? Haha.

As for the idea of working out at night just before sleeping, I think that one of the previous poster’s point about not being able to eat anything for the next 8 hours is very important. I doubt if the anabolic effect of sleep will counter the catabolic effect of lack of food. I also vaguely remember reading somewhere that it’s best to workout either 3 hours or 11 hours after you wake up, due to circadian cycles or something like that (I think it came from Poliquin).

[quote]Vanre wrote:
Hmm I think this idea has occurred to me before, but I didn’t really think about it. Like the OP, I often feel really sleepy after lifting, and I often can’t wait to get back home and tumble into bed (after a bath of course). Unfortunately this is not always possible. I’m not sure if a PWN (Post-Workout Nap, lol) actually improves performance and recovery, cos I didn’t notice any significant improvement when I napped after every workout for a period of time, but then again, my evidence is purely anecdotal so perhaps it does have some benefit. At the very least, you will feel better if you sleep when you’re sleepy right? Haha.

As for the idea of working out at night just before sleeping, I think that one of the previous poster’s point about not being able to eat anything for the next 8 hours is very important. I doubt if the anabolic effect of sleep will counter the catabolic effect of lack of food. I also vaguely remember reading somewhere that it’s best to workout either 3 hours or 11 hours after you wake up, due to circadian cycles or something like that (I think it came from Poliquin).[/quote]

Ehh… The circadian rhythm could get a little funky possibly… And I didn’t consider the whole “not eating” while asleep… Hmm… BUT also consider that the last meal of the day (post workout, maybe a snack too.) is taken before bed time. If the person is sleeping, they will be consuming a lot less calories of the meal they just ate than they would be if they were awake and going about their daily routine.

[quote]StrongSurvive wrote:

Ehh… The circadian rhythm could get a little funky possibly… And I didn’t consider the whole “not eating” while asleep… Hmm… BUT also consider that the last meal of the day (post workout, maybe a snack too.) is taken before bed time. If the person is sleeping, they will be consuming a lot less calories of the meal they just ate than they would be if they were awake and going about their daily routine.
[/quote]

Hmm so does one’s metabolic rate decrease sufficiently during sleep to offset the difference between consuming 2-3 meals within and after the “post-workout anabolic window”)? How long is this “window” anyway? I seem to recall reading some interview on T-Nation about how the window is longer than we think and there’s no need to gulp down a protein shake the moment the weights hit the floor after the last set, but I can’t seem to find it, or even recall who it was from. Ok, but I digress. I guess there’s no way to know unless you can find some studies on this. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I don’t face this dilemma since my schedule only allows me to lift at a fixed time each day, lol.

I work out pretty late. I don’t know how you can doze off. I’m normally wired & have to take contrast showers in order to slow down.

I work out pretty late. I don’t know how you can doze off. I’m normally wired & have to take contrast showers in order to slow down.

[quote]DeadRamones wrote:
I work out pretty late. I don’t know how you can doze off. I’m normally wired & have to take contrast showers in order to slow down.[/quote]

Contrast showers? After a hard workout, just putting my hand against the wall and my head under the water is enough to put me out. But I agree I’m way too amped to sleep after a workout, gotta have PWO shake, then ZMA, then eat, then bed…still takes around 2-3 hours. I don’t know how some of these guys are able to get good lifts before the sun comes up.

I take a nap after every workout (at least whenever possible). In particular, after neurologically draining stuff (heavy deadlifts, either heavy, low-rep squats, or high-rep squats), my whole body is dead until I nap a bit…
dan

Checked everyone’s profile and you guys are all fairly small and probably not that advanced.

DR…you are probably a fighter so this may not apply to you. I also have that problem when I train late at night. But I can nap after training during the day…don’t know what it is.

Anyway, most of you need to focus on training your ass off, eating a lot of food and getting adequate rest and recovery.

This nap thing is basically a detail that won’t make a huge difference either way. Meditation after training will lower cortisol. That is fact, and it will help you in the long term, if you happen to fall to sleep while meditating then so be it.

I usually lay down, put a meditation cd in pop the head phones in the ears and usually fall to sleep. If you don’t have time to do this do it at night, you will benefit.

I am not big now, I suffered several injuries that needed to heal while I maintained what I could. I am now about 220 at 6ft 3in tall and the only place that you don’t see veins on me is my abs… I’ve been at the same body fat at 250lbs. Not huge but no one ever asked me if I lifted, they asked how much you lift and that is still the case.

Don’t get caught up in sweating the small stuff, spend more time training hard and eating big! Use the same exercises over and over and over until you become very strong in those exercises. When you are not progressing you take a down week and come back stronger!

This is my advice, I don’t know everything, but that is pretty basic advice.

Flame away if you like…I don’t care.

I’m almost never wired after working out. I need a 45-60 min nap afterward.