How Protein Before Bed Can Promote Muscle Growth
Whether you want to lose weight or gain it, a diet with an adequate amount of protein is key.
suggest your daily calories should consist of:
- 10 to 35 percent of protein
- 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates
- 20 to 35 percent of fat
The recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Research suggests, though, that athletes benefit from more protein to maximize muscle growth. Those who frequently and consistently lift weights or do resistance training may benefit from consuming 1.3 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
That means that an active 180-pound male should consume about 106 to 147 grams of protein a day for muscle growth. An active 140-pound woman should consume between 83 and 114 grams of protein per day.
Is there an optimal time to consume this protein? While hitting the overall daily intake is most important, research does suggest that protein timing can make a difference.
Studies are mixed about whether consuming protein immediately after a workout has a beneficial effect on muscle growth. Several studies do show that protein consumed before bed can indeed foster muscle growth.
The science behind it
Protein supplies amino acids, which build our muscles. Our muscles repair themselves and grow while we sleep. Growth hormone is elevated during this time. This hormone boosts muscle growth and decreases fat.
Studies have shown that if you consume an ample amount of protein right before bed, you’ll take full advantage of this spike in growth hormone and maximize muscle gains. This happens because you’re providing the amino acids that are needed for repair and growth.
A 2012 study assessed the effect of eating protein before bed with 16 healthy young male participants. They performed a single bout of weightlifting in the evening and were provided 20 grams of protein immediately after exercise. Thirty minutes before sleep, eight of the men ingested a beverage with 40 grams of casein. Muscle protein synthesis rates were increased in the eight men who consumed the casein beverage before bed. This provided evidence that protein increases postexercise overnight recovery.
Another studyTrusted Source
from 2015 monitored 44 young men as they completed a 12-week resistance training program. All participants consumed a high-protein diet (1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight). One group consumed a drink before bed containing 27.5 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates. The other group received a placebo drink. The group who consumed the protein drink saw greater improvements in muscle strength, muscle size, and muscle fiber size.
However, both of these studies had limitations. It’s not clear in both studies whether the increase in total daily protein intake or the protein intake specifically before bed resulted in muscle gains.
However, the overall body of research on protein intake and muscle growth has led the International Society of Sports NutritionTrusted Source
to take the stance that “casein protein (~ 30-40 g) prior to sleep can acutely increase MPS [muscle protein synthesis] and metabolic rate throughout the night.” They recommend nighttime protein intake for athletes who train in the early morning without eating, or in the evening after dinner.
And in a different 2015 studyTrusted Source
comparing carbohydrate snacks verses protein snacks before sleep, the protein group had improved metabolism.