In a new study, researchers found drinking a protein shake just before sleep at night could increase muscle gains and strength for resistance training.
This is because overnight sleep is a unique nutritional window for boosting muscle gains.
In addition, calories from bedtime protein don’t increase body fat.
The research was conducted by a team from Maastricht University.
Previous studies have shown that protein intake before night sleep can increase muscle protein synthesis during overnight sleep in young adults.
For example, one previous study from the team showed that in a weightlifting training, people who got a nightly pre-sleep protein shake gained more muscle strength and size.
This suggests that a pre-sleep protein supplement can boost the strength and muscle gains for regular resistance exercise.
However, it is unclear whether this effect is due to increased protein intake in the whole day, or if a bedtime beverage is better.
Based on previous findings, the researchers suggest that muscles only grow and repair themselves when amino acids from protein are available in the blood.
The pre-sleep protein intake can help improve protein intake distribution over the day and provide more resources for muscle growth.
Bedtime protein intake does not compromise total protein or calorie intake.
People still have a good appetite the following morning and their muscles respond well to a high-protein breakfast.
Moreover, the additional consumption of protein calories before sleep does not lead to an increase in body fat even though people don’t do more exercise.
It actually may increase the rate of fat burning the following day. This is because protein ingestion reduces the insulin response to subsequent meals and pushes the body to burn more fat.
The researchers suggest that pre-bed protein intake, especially casein, doesn’t seem to make people fat. On the contrary, it may actually increase fat metabolism.
They also suggest that bedtime protein intake doesn’t seem to affect sleep quality or sleep length.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Tim Snijders, Assistant Professor at Maastricht University.
The study is published in Frontiers in Nutrition.
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