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Sleep!

comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
I keep reading here that sleep is really important for weight gain/bulking. But since I started gaining,for some reason my stupid body has decided I only need 4-5 hours sleep each night!
I have tried everything - good "sleep hygiene ", going to bed earlier/later, not eating late in the evening,not drinking close to bedtime. I've also tried having a snack before bedtime as often I wake up hungry. I even borrowed a friend's light box to see if I could reset my body clock. Nothing seems to work.
It wouldn't worry me if I felt ok but I don't- I'm shattered! And it affects my workouts.
Is it just an age thing ( I'm 61)? Any tips would be gratefully received. I don't want to go down the medication route- I'm already on a bunch of meds for a chronic illness! And how much does it actually affect muscle gain?
Thanks in advance!

Edit just to say I have no problem falling asleep- I just don't stay asleep for long enough!
edited February 17

Replies

  • Gallowmere1984Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,145Member Member Posts: 6,145Member Member
    I had the same problem for a while. The only way I was able to conquer it was to start going to bed stupid early (6-7 pm), keeping my apartment pitch dark, and when I woke up ar 11 or 12, getting up to pee, having a smoke in the dark, and immediately laying back down. I'll usually end up sleeping until 3-4. It's like my sleep schedule was splitting itself in half, and I just assumed that since I had woken up before my alarm, that my body was ready to be up.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    I have to say that I could happily go to bed at 6 but I've been assuming that's far too early. Also we don't eat until around 8 - I'd have to radically alter my eating habits but could give it a go.
    Apparently our ancestors slept in 2 or 3 cycles each night so maybe it's normal!
    edited February 17
  • Gallowmere1984Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,145Member Member Posts: 6,145Member Member
    I have to say that I could happily go to bed at 6 but I've been assuming that's far too early. Also we don't eat until around 8 - I'd have to radically alter my eating habits but could give it a go.
    Apparently our ancestors slept in 2 or 3 cycles each night so maybe it's normal!

    I think it is, and we're just kind of being screwed up by all of the artificial lighting and electronics. Amusingly, my best nights of sleep have occured when the power was out to my entire apartment complex. You never realize how much noise and light there is now, until you realize that you're suddenly not even hearing the hum of central air units.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    Maybe I should try that!
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 22,171Member Member Posts: 22,171Member Member
    black out blinds were the best thing i ever spent money on...

    I would say keep going to bed at the same time and hope that your body eventually lets you sleep longer. Its not often i don't wake up in the night for a wee, so i try not to drink much an hour before bed.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    Thanks! I seem to wake needing a wee even if I don't drink anything before bedtime (another perk of getting older) and that's what causes the problem because my brain goes zing! You're awake now!
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 22,171Member Member Posts: 22,171Member Member
    Thanks! I seem to wake needing a wee even if I don't drink anything before bedtime (another perk of getting older) and that's what causes the problem because my brain goes zing! You're awake now!

    yeah i hate that, if my husband gets up as well he usually puts a light on, and then my brain is like 'you're awake, woooo!!!'

    I've heard of having a pen and paper next to your bed so you can write stuff down that you start thinking about things which stops you getting back to sleep?
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    I could try that. Husband and I now sleep separately during the week - we just keep each other awake, and not in a good way .....!
  • lizerylizery Posts: 865Member Member Posts: 865Member Member
    Some ideas to consider

    1) are you taking any supplements that might be interfering?

    2) could your chronic illnesses be waking you up?

    3) is there anything else in your life that may be keeping you up?
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    lizery wrote: »
    Some ideas to consider

    1) are you taking any supplements that might be interfering?

    2) could your chronic illnesses be waking you up?

    3) is there anything else in your life that may be keeping you up?


    The only thing I'm taking that's different is whey protein powder? My illness is in remission at the moment so don't think it's that. I'm not aware of anything else - I mean, nothing I'm specifically stressed about.
    Eating more ,and lifting, has generally given me more energy though.

  • bioklutzbioklutz Posts: 1,020Member Member Posts: 1,020Member Member
    This has been happening to me too. I normally get 7-8 hours a sleep. Eating in a surplus I have been getting anywhere from 5-6 hours (with a rare 7 hours). I am also not having trouble falling asleep - I am waking up much earlier than I normally do.

    I believe when I brought it up @Gallowmere1984 had mentioned it was worse for him on a keto diet? I went back through my diary and the biggest change for me was carbs were much higher so I thought that might be the culprit. I tried to eat more fat to lower carbs a little bit. It helped some but I think it just might be that I have more energy in a surplus so am finding it hard to sleep as long as I normally did.

    How big is your calorie surplus? Maybe try cutting back a little - 100 calories - to see if that helps?
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    bioklutz wrote: »
    This has been happening to me too. I normally get 7-8 hours a sleep. Eating in a surplus I have been getting anywhere from 5-6 hours (with a rare 7 hours). I am also not having trouble falling asleep - I am waking up much earlier than I normally do.

    I believe when I brought it up @Gallowmere1984 had mentioned it was worse for him on a keto diet? I went back through my diary and the biggest change for me was carbs were much higher so I thought that might be the culprit. I tried to eat more fat to lower carbs a little bit. It helped some but I think it just might be that I have more energy in a surplus so am finding it hard to sleep as long as I normally did.

    How big is your calorie surplus? Maybe try cutting back a little - 100 calories - to see if that helps?

    I'm eating around 2300 a day, sometimes more. Mfp sets me much lower than that but I wasn't gaining on their estimate and found I had to up the calories quite a lot.
    Interesting about macros though. Due to dietary restrictions I find it hard to reach my carb goals so I tend to go over on fat, and sometimes protein. Think I'd have difficulties altering that though - partly diet restrictions (I can't eat whole grains and only limited fruit and veg) and also I find carbs too filling.

  • sardelsasardelsa Posts: 2,418Member Member Posts: 2,418Member Member
    Sorry you aren't sleeping. I feel you because I am in a similar boat (except it has to do with a baby that doesn't like to sleep at night).

    It could be your surplus. Sometimes I get random bouts of energy (despite me being super exhausted) and my brain is always wired and ready to go..seems my body wants to burn off the excess cals maybe? I have no idea.

  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    Sorry you aren't sleeping. I feel you because I am in a similar boat (except it has to do with a baby that doesn't like to sleep at night).

    It could be your surplus. Sometimes I get random bouts of energy (despite me being super exhausted) and my brain is always wired and ready to go..seems my body wants to burn off the excess cals maybe? I have no idea.

    Ah I remember those baby induced sleepless nights! Come to think of it, I never went back to my pre-baby sleep patterns!
    From the replies on here, I'm thinking it could be the increased calories that's contributing. I'll try cutting back a bit (at 58 kgs I'm close to my goal of 60 kgs anyway ) and see if that helps. Thank you !

  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    So,last night I tried just delaying my bedtime. Went to bed at midnight and still only slept 5 hours but waking at 5.30 is a hell of a lot better than 3.30.
    I'd still like to know though;does getting less sleep affect muscle growth? As everything I've read,including on here,suggests that getting 7-8 hours sleep is crucial for this?
  • awinner_auawinner_au Posts: 135Member Member Posts: 135Member Member
    How long has this been going for, are you napping at other times in the day? From what i have read 5hrs a day over a long period is just not sustainable normally. 5hrs a day IMO will definitely affect muscle growth adversely. There will also be other side effects.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    It's been happening since I started gaining. I do sometimes nap during the day but it's counterproductive because if I nap,I just sleep less at night.
    I'm concerned about the long term effects but not sure what to do about it- I can't force myself to sleep!
  • bioklutzbioklutz Posts: 1,020Member Member Posts: 1,020Member Member
    There is optimal circumstances for muscle growth and there is real life. How many people can follow everything for optimal growth?

    I am in a similar situation as you. The only time I was concerned was when I was getting 4 hours a sleep and felt like crap. That is when I played around with my macros a little to see if it helped.

    Getting 5-6 hours of sleep I feel fine. I have energy to get through the day. I am capable of doing my job, holding conversations, not super cranky - basically I am functioning just as well as when I was sleeping 7-8 hours.

    I am less than 2 weeks from being done with my bulk and will start to drop a few pounds. There were other things besides sleep that was not optimal for muscle growth. I am not worried about it. What I am is proud! I set a goal to do this and I am achieving it!
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    bioklutz wrote: »
    There is optimal circumstances for muscle growth and there is real life. How many people can follow everything for optimal growth?

    I am in a similar situation as you. The only time I was concerned was when I was getting 4 hours a sleep and felt like crap. That is when I played around with my macros a little to see if it helped.

    Getting 5-6 hours of sleep I feel fine. I have energy to get through the day. I am capable of doing my job, holding conversations, not super cranky - basically I am functioning just as well as when I was sleeping 7-8 hours.

    I am less than 2 weeks from being done with my bulk and will start to drop a few pounds. There were other things besides sleep that was not optimal for muscle growth. I am not worried about it. What I am is proud! I set a goal to do this and I am achieving it!

    Great attitude ,and thank you - you've made me feel better about it! Like you I'm OK on 6 hours (on 5 hours I am tired but not so tired that I can't work out)
    I've reset my calorie goal so it's around 100 lower. I'm near my goal anyway so it won't hurt to slow down a little.
    I'm also reassured ,after doing a bit of research , to find that the 7-8 hours thing is not cut and dried and varies between individuals. So I'm going to try not to stress about it (which anyway makes it worse. )
  • sardelsasardelsa Posts: 2,418Member Member Posts: 2,418Member Member
    I think if your lack of sleep is starting to negatively affect your workouts (too tired to perform, not progressing etc) then that can be a problem for building muscle for sure. Otherwise, you are fine. Is it the most optimal and ideal? Maybe not.. but despite my lack of sleep (6h on a good night, much less on a bad night.. and there have been a lot of bad nights..) I am able to perform and I am building muscle fairly adequately.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    I think if your lack of sleep is starting to negatively affect your workouts (too tired to perform, not progressing etc) then that can be a problem for building muscle for sure. Otherwise, you are fine. Is it the most optimal and ideal? Maybe not.. but despite my lack of sleep (6h on a good night, much less on a bad night.. and there have been a lot of bad nights..) I am able to perform and I am building muscle fairly adequately.

    Thanks. There are days when I think I'm too tired to work out but I do it anyway - I don't know how much it affects it as I've nothing to compare it with. Thanks and it helps that I'm not the only one and to know you're progressing.
  • awinner_auawinner_au Posts: 135Member Member Posts: 135Member Member
    I'm also reassured ,after doing a bit of research , to find that the 7-8 hours thing is not cut and dried and varies between individuals. So I'm going to try not to stress about it (which anyway makes it worse. )

    It does vary, it is also cumulative. So if you are getting enough sleep over the day then its fine. Before the advent of lighting at night peoples sleep was Bi-phasic apparently. If you are getting five hours in a stretch and then catching up during the day you should be fine for muscle growth, not sure how that will affect cognitive function as you are probably reducing the amount of REM sleep you get.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    awinner_au wrote: »
    I'm also reassured ,after doing a bit of research , to find that the 7-8 hours thing is not cut and dried and varies between individuals. So I'm going to try not to stress about it (which anyway makes it worse. )

    It does vary, it is also cumulative. So if you are getting enough sleep over the day then its fine. Before the advent of lighting at night peoples sleep was Bi-phasic apparently. If you are getting five hours in a stretch and then catching up during the day you should be fine for muscle growth, not sure how that will affect cognitive function as you are probably reducing the amount of REM sleep you get.

    Yes,I've read that too.
    Last night I surpassed myself by waking at 4.30 after three and a half hours sleep - and I'd avoided napping in the day in the hope that I'd sleep longer at night.
    I'm officially at my wits end and planning to see the doctor this week!
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Posts: 3,310Member Member Posts: 3,310Member Member
    So,last night I tried just delaying my bedtime. Went to bed at midnight and still only slept 5 hours but waking at 5.30 is a hell of a lot better than 3.30.
    I'd still like to know though;does getting less sleep affect muscle growth? As everything I've read,including on here,suggests that getting 7-8 hours sleep is crucial for this?

    Everyone is different, but most of the strength and conditioning experts I follow say a minimum of 7 hours for athletic performance.

    If you get up at night to use the bathroom, avoid turning on the lights (if you can get around without hurting yourself). The bright lights can trick some people into thinking it's daytime. If needed use a couple small nightlights.
    edited February 19
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    So,last night I tried just delaying my bedtime. Went to bed at midnight and still only slept 5 hours but waking at 5.30 is a hell of a lot better than 3.30.
    I'd still like to know though;does getting less sleep affect muscle growth? As everything I've read,including on here,suggests that getting 7-8 hours sleep is crucial for this?

    Everyone is different, but most of the strength and conditioning experts I follow say a minimum of 7 hours for athletic performance.

    If you get up at night to use the bathroom, avoid turning on the lights (if you can get around without hurting yourself). The bright lights can trick some people into thinking it's daytime. If needed use a couple small nightlights.

    Thanks. The lights outside our bathroom are pretty bright so I'll try dimming them .
  • MimiGroveOwenMimiGroveOwen Posts: 6Member Member Posts: 6Member Member
    I keep reading here that sleep is really important for weight gain/bulking. But since I started gaining,for some reason my stupid body has decided I only need 4-5 hours sleep each night!
    I have tried everything - good "sleep hygiene ", going to bed earlier/later, not eating late in the evening,not drinking close to bedtime. I've also tried having a snack before bedtime as often I wake up hungry. I even borrowed a friend's light box to see if I could reset my body clock. Nothing seems to work.
    It wouldn't worry me if I felt ok but I don't- I'm shattered! And it affects my workouts.
    Is it just an age thing ( I'm 61)? Any tips would be gratefully received. I don't want to go down the medication route- I'm already on a bunch of meds for a chronic illness! And how much does it actually affect muscle gain?
    Thanks in advance!

    Edit just to say I have no problem falling asleep- I just don't stay asleep for long enough!

    I struggle with sleep from time to time. If I'm not sleeping, it's usually because I'm wide awake about 3:30 or 4:00 after 4 or 5 hours of decent sleep. I used to toss and turn and try to force myself to go back to sleep, with only fitful success until around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. I finally just started getting up, going ahead and making some coffee, and watching TV or doing email until around 6:00 or 7:00. By then I'm usually tired enough to get back in the bed and resleep until around 9:00 or 10:00. I'm retired, so I can do this. And believe me, resleep is the BEST.
  • MimiGroveOwenMimiGroveOwen Posts: 6Member Member Posts: 6Member Member
    I struggle with sleep from time to time. If I'm not sleeping, it's usually because I'm wide awake about 3:30 or 4:00 after 4 or 5 hours of decent sleep. I used to toss and turn and try to force myself to go back to sleep, with only fitful success until around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. I finally just started getting up, going ahead and making some coffee, and watching TV or doing email until around 6:00 or 7:00. By then I'm usually tired enough to get back in the bed and resleep until around 9:00 or 10:00. I'm retired, so I can do this. And believe me, resleep is the BEST.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    Lol - I am retired too but can't shake the feeling that it's wrong to go back to bed! Thank you- I will try it x
  • Gallowmere1984Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,145Member Member Posts: 6,145Member Member
    Lol - I am retired too but can't shake the feeling that it's wrong to go back to bed! Thank you- I will try it x

    I've started doing it on the weekends, and I can honestly say that it's helped. I usually get up between 1:30-3:00 am. I'll hit a few miles walking, eat a big breakfast, then crash back out for an extra couple of hours before the sun comes up. It's going to be harder to do in the summer though, with dawn cracking around 5:30 some days.
  • comptonelizabethcomptonelizabeth Posts: 1,163Member Member Posts: 1,163Member Member
    Lol - I am retired too but can't shake the feeling that it's wrong to go back to bed! Thank you- I will try it x

    I've started doing it on the weekends, and I can honestly say that it's helped. I usually get up between 1:30-3:00 am. I'll hit a few miles walking, eat a big breakfast, then crash back out for an extra couple of hours before the sun comes up. It's going to be harder to do in the summer though, with dawn cracking around 5:30 some days.

    Yeah - I find it harder in the summer too,and I'm by the sea so....seagulls!
    It's reassuring to know I'm not a freak. I've been looking up stuff about insomnia but to me,this isn't classic insomnia as I've no problem falling asleep.
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