Asking yourself how much sleep do I need to build muscle is one of the keys to building the body that you deserve. Sleep is essential to building muscle, and it is something that you need to do everyday (shocker, I know).
If you think that you are going to build muscle while only sleeping 3 hours per night, it’s simply not going to happen. Your body is going to prioritize other functions instead of building muscle.
For example, if you are running on just a few hours of sleep, your body is going to prioritize giving you energy to be awake and function. Muscles are the last thing on your body’s mind.
This seems fairly obvious. Building muscle is something that happens when your body is in a caloric surplus and energy surplus. In other words, muscle is the last thing that your body cares about.
That is why we need to create the right environment for our muscles to thrive. Sleeping is one of those things.
Why do I need sleep to build muscle?
When you are sleeping, your muscles are repairing. Every time that you workout, your muscles are getting micro tears in them. Your body then repairs these muscles. This is how muscles grow.
If you are not sleeping well, your body does not have enough time to repair your muscles.
Think about this. Your body needs a ton of time to build muscle. Consider how long it takes to go from skinny to muscular. Years, right? Well on a more micro scale, your body needs plenty of time sleeping to make the small repairs necessary to continue pushing forward.
Over time, you will start to lose muscle mass and slip into the realm of being a human zombie.
Sleep also improves your immune system. You don’t want to get sick and not be able to go to the gym, right?
Sleep is the foundation for all things that your body repairs including your brain, your muscles, and your immune system. You will find that your body will start to fall apart if you neglect sleeping, so make sure that you get as much sleep as you can!
How much sleep do I need to build muscle?
This isn’t just a suggestion. It is scientifically proven that you need to sleep at least 7-9 hours per night for muscle growth.
Most studies suggest that the higher the better. In fact, a study performed on collegiate basketball players suggests that athletes who got 10 hours of sleep performed better than those who didn’t.
Can you consistently get 10 hours of sleep? I personally hover in the 7-8 hour range, and I still manage to build muscle. My wife is one of the lucky ones who can sleep for 12 hours straight undisturbed.
It doesn’t matter how you interpret the effects on sleep and muscle growth, the evidence is there. The more sleep you get, the more time your body will have to repair itself, which means bigger muscles for you.
What workouts should I be doing to build muscle?
If you don’t have a workout plan in mind, that is the first thing that you should think about after making sure you are getting enough sleep.
Do you have access to a gym with weight training equipment? If not, you can take a look at our list of workouts to build muscle at home with no weights.
Personally, I prefer going to the gym, because that is just what worked for me. I realized early on that in order to build muscle, you need to lift heavy weights, eat enough calories, and get enough sleep.
I was so fed up with the fitness industry, that I decided to just create my own workout plan with no nonsense. That exact workout plan is called 3 DAY OVERLOAD and is available on our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). It’s great for tracking progress, learning exercises, and building muscle.
If you are not ready for the app world, you can always learn some workouts for skinny people to gain muscle.
All in all, it is pretty simple. Find a workout plan that works for you. I recommend working out 3-4 days per week. Although bodyweight exercises can work, I always recommend the gym over bodyweight.
There is more to it than just sleep
I am here to tell you that just working out and getting enough sleep is not going to cut it. Nobody told me this at the beginning of my journey, so now I will pass the information on.
I used to be so focused on working out and getting enough sleep, that I neglected the most important area of building muscle. Eating enough calories!
Just for context, I used to be ridiculously skinny. People would make fun of me for how skinny I was. I spent 7+ years focusing on working out and sleeping enough, until I realized something wasn’t working.
I finally learned that I wasn’t eating enough. Before we go any farther, I highly recommend learning how to calculate your maintenance calories. Once I learned how to create my maintenance calories, I finally had a baseline for how many calories I should be eating.
This was life changing for me. And after 1 year of eating enough, sleeping enough, and working out enough, I was able to put on 20+ pounds of muscle. This is completely in the realm of possibility if you combine all these together.
Main Point: How much sleep do I need to build muscle?
Sleep is one of the most important things that you can do in order to make sure that you are building muscle. But remember, it isn’t everything.
In order to build the perfect body that you have been looking for, you must do a combination of things. Eat enough, sleep enough, workout 3-4 days per week, and do this consistently over a long period of time.
If you can just follow the 4 things mentioned in the previous sentence, you will have no problem putting on muscle. Remember not to get frustrated when you do not see results overnight. It’s not going to happen that quickly. It is going to take months or years to hit your goals. And that is what makes hitting your goals that much more satisfying.
So, how much sleep do I need to build muscle? Get at least 7 hours per night, but preferably 8-10. Getting enough sleep not only helps with muscle growth, but has an immense list of other benefits.