The Science Behind Nighttime Recovery Supplements

Supplements to take before bed or nighttime recovery supplement include those that feed the muscle during prolonged fasting and promote a better night’s sleep. Contrary to what one might think, there is not exactly muscle development during training. This happens later, in the recovery period. When we think about recovery, we almost always limit ourselves to rest or to sleep the necessary hours every night. However, muscle recovery also requires energy and essential nutrients, namely protein.

During the recovery period, protein synthesis is highest in muscle fibers that have been heavily loaded. This means the muscles that worked hardest during training will need the most recovery to develop and adapt to training. Most athletes fast overnight, which is then “compensated” by eating a good breakfast. However, this breakfast will not make a big difference by itself since, during fasting, as the body does not have the nutrients and energy it needs for vital functions, it starts a process of muscle catabolism, to obtain. In this way, there is no muscle mass development, and the loss can even occur. visit us to learn more. 

Maintenance of Muscle Mass

Considering what has already been mentioned and knowing that protein is the basic structure of muscle tissue, protein intake before sleep is an excellent option to minimize night catabolism. This protein intake can be done using protein-rich foods or protein supplements, a more practical and quicker option to prepare and take.

However, there are some important considerations about the type of protein to ingest during this period. If you eat something solid, it won’t be that important, as it will take longer to digest.

Even so, if you prefer to take a protein supplement, you have two options: either you take a fast-digesting and absorbing protein, such as Whey, and add a food with some fat to delay digestion, or you choose to take a protein slow digestion and absorption, as is the case with casein.

  1. Whey Protein

Whey is a fast-absorbing protein; so-called normal shakes (in water or juice rich in simple sugars) are digested very quickly by the body, reaching the muscles shortly after ingestion. It follows that they are the most recommended right after exercise.

When it comes to taking it before going to bed, mixing it with milk or derivatives will allow you to identify the process of digestion and absorption, with the release of amino acids to the muscles much slower and more gradual throughout the night. This is due to the presence of casein in dairy products, which is a slower-digesting protein. If you want to take the protein with water, add food rich in healthy fat, such as oleaginous nuts, for example, you will get a similar effect, as fat delays digestion and gastric emptying.

  1. Casein

Casein is a slow-absorbing protein, which allows it to “feed” the muscles for several hours after ingestion. Indeed, the release and absorption of amino acids from casein can last 3 to 7 hours after ingestion, increasing nitrogen retention (necessary for protein synthesis). This gives this protein a special advantage as an anti-catabolic agent, helping to minimize the muscle breakdown that occurs overnight to meet the body’s basic needs.

 Its effect is particularly relevant in phases of muscle growth, intense physical exercise, slimming diets, or periods of prolonged fasting. In addition, by providing an extensive profile of branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), casein allows for the repair and recovery of muscle fibers, making it one of the best supplements to take before bed.

Sleep Improvement

  1. Melatonin

Melatonin is one of the most commonly used supplements for sleep induction purposes.

Produced by the pineal gland at night, melatonin is the substance responsible for regulating circadian cycles (sleep-wake).

However, with advancing age or due to stress, melatonin production decreases, and some people stop producing it in sufficient quantity, and its supplementation before bedtime is indicated.

In this sense, supplementation with melatonin reduces the time to fall asleep and increases the number of hours of sleep, attention, and concentration during the day, contributing to muscle recovery.

  1. Gaba

GABA is an amino acid and neurotransmitter produced naturally by the body and in supplements.

Its action blocks stress and anxiety, having a relaxing effect on the brain. In this way, this amino acid helps to improve the decision-making process and sleep, being a good alternative to benzodiazepines.

In addition, GABA promotes an increase in the release of growth hormone, which, in addition to increasing muscle regeneration and muscle growth, helps with weight loss.

  1. ZMA

This supplement blends zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Many athletes take ZMA to improve testosterone levels and strength; however, this supplement is also very good for improving sleep. Magnesium decreases anxiety levels, and vitamin B6 converts tryptophan to serotonin, improving sleep quality.

This supplement’s combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 promotes greater ease of falling asleep and improved sleep quality. Finally, it would help if you remembered that taking these supplements before bed should be combined with a balanced diet and a training plan suited to your physical condition, body composition, and goals.


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