1. Get Enough
Getting enough sleep is a make or break strategy when it comes to getting big and staying lean. Ample sleep optimizes leptin levels which regulate your metabolic rate. Sleep = growth, so why skimp on it? You could probably get away with 7 hours a night, but 9 is much better. Researchers from Stanford found that increasing the amount of time you sleep by about 1 1/2 hours led to significant increases in performance (including sprint times) and focus, in college basketball players. Although this study was carried out with basketball players, it has direct application to physique athletes. If you are more explosive and focused in the gym, you'll lift more weight, and get bigger. Increasing sleep duration and quality is a really simple way to kick start muscle growth while improving nutrient partitioning.
2. Do Deep
While sleep duration is important the quality of the sleep you get is also very important devices like the Fitbit, Lark, and Zeo Sleep Manager allow you to easily quantify your sleep quality so you can see how you are doing. I like to use this simple 3 pronged approach for maximizing sleep quality and deep sleep. First -- Take ZMA before you go to bed. These minerals are often depleted during hard training and underdosed in multivitamins. More importantly magnesium can act as a relaxant helping you get to sleep faster.
[Editor's Note: As we've said many times here at ProSource, the industry's gold standard for ZMA comes from SNAC Systems, who pioneered ZMA research and development in the 1990s. ProSource ZMA contains 100% ZMA sourced from SNAC Systems.] Second -- Supplement with tryptophan. Tryptophan has been shown to increase the amount of deep sleep that you get -- allowing you to maximize muscle growth. Finally, keep your room cool. When you move into deep sleep your body stops regulating its body temperature. By keeping your room cool and at a consistent temperature you will not experience temperature changes that can interrupt this important muscle restoring stage of sleep.