• E-mail: support@primalharvest.com
  • Accessibility Menu Icon
  • Search
  • Account
  • Cart Cart 0
How Does Sleep Help Your Muscles Recover?

How Does Sleep Help Your Muscles Recover?

Sleep is a vital part of our daily lives. The importance of getting enough sleep each night isn’t a new concept. Most of us have probably experienced the side effects of a bad night’s sleep enough times to know that we generally feel healthier when we are getting enough sleep on a regular basis. But, did you know that a good night's sleep plays an essential role in muscle and exercise recovery? 

In this blog, we're diving into why sleep is essential for muscle recovery and what else you can do to best support healthy muscles. 

man turning off alarm clock in bed

How much sleep do I need? 

Many of us would agree that we could use a little more sleep, but how much do you need really?

Every individual is different, which means each of us needs a different amount of sleep. However, most experts suggest that healthy adults get around 7-9 hours of sleep every night. This is, of course, just a general guideline which means that the right sleep duration for you may depend on your individual needs. 

For example, if you usually get around 7 hours of sleep each night yet find that you are still consistently tired and unproductive during the day, it could be that you require more sleep. 

Our individual sleep needs can also depend on other factors. Individuals who lead an active lifestyle, exercise frequently or have physically demanding jobs may also need more sleep than those who are more sedentary. 

What happens to the body when we sleep?

We need adequate sleep so that various bodily functions can be carried out properly. It is important for our immune and cardiovascular systems as well as for regulating metabolism. 

When we sleep our bodies experience a variety of changes. Our breathing and heart rate slow down, our brain activity shifts between different activity levels as we move through different sleep stages, and our hormone levels fluctuate. Meanwhile, the muscles relax and our energy usage decreases. 

Most importantly, sleeping is a restorative process during which our body repairs cells and conserves energy. [1]

Why sleep is key for muscle recovery

Although it sounds counterintuitive, in order to build muscle we actually need to cause our muscle fibers to tear (only on a microscopic level, we’re not talking serious injury). This occurs by doing a hard workout such as weight training. [2]

When the muscle is injured in this minor way, the cells try to repair the damage. To do this, they join together which, in turn, increases the muscle fiber, making the muscle bigger and stronger. This series of muscle-bulking events is triggered by the release of growth hormone which jumpstarts our metabolism and turns amino acids into protein to aid muscle building. 

This regenerative process mostly happens during sleep, making sleep essential for muscle building and recovery. That's why sleep and muscle recovery go hand in hand.

sporty woman stretching on bed

Sleep deprivation and muscle recovery 

When we don’t get enough restorative sleep, the regenerative process our body needs to build muscle cannot happen properly. 

Studies suggest, around 95% of growth hormone secretion (also known as Human Growth Hormone, or HGH) occurs during slow-wave sleep, or non-REM sleep (REM = rapid eye movement). This is the hormone that stimulates tissue growth which helps the muscle tissue to repair itself. Therefore, if we aren’t able to reach that stage of deep sleep, our body is unable to repair the muscle damage caused by exercise. [3]

If we don’t catch enough shut-eye our muscles are deprived of its crucial healing process. In fact, being sleep-deprived can also cause the muscles to become inflamed and break down their own protein. 

Depriving the muscles of the opportunity to repair themselves and recover can result in the microtears becoming aggravated which, in turn, can lead to overuse injuries and a loss of muscle mass.

sporty senior couple running on beach

4 ways to support muscle recovery 


  1. Eat Well

Eating the right foods can help your muscles recover. Our muscles need protein to help nourish any microtears. Consuming protein before and after exercise can help support recovery. [4]

Carbohydrates are also an important factor. They are the main source of energy for our muscles when we exercise so it’s important to replenish these before and after exercise. Having a post-workout snack that contains both carbohydrates and protein can supply your muscles with the nutrients they need to repair themselves. 

Generally, eating a healthy and balanced diet puts you in the best position to promote muscle recovery. 


  1. Hydrate

Being dehydrated can make it harder for your muscles to repair themselves. Try to drink around two liters of water a day. If you’re especially active, live in a warm climate, or sweat a lot you may need to drink more. [5]

Electrolytes can also help keep you hydrated. When we sweat, we lose valuable minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium, which we need for muscle contraction. Replenishing these electrolytes can help you recover and maintain hydration levels. 


  1. Warm Up and Cool Down

Dedicating time to warm up properly may help to keep your muscles from getting too sore and can minimize the risk of injury. This is especially true before doing challenging physical activities such as lifting heavy weights. 

Likewise, it’s just as important to take the time to cool down after a workout to let the heart slow and the blood pressure recover. Stretching once you’ve cooled down can be helpful for increasing your range of motion and may prevent muscle tightness. [6]


  1. Get Enough Sleep

And last, but not least, sleep! By now, you already know about the importance of sleep when it comes to muscle recovery. Because sleep plays such a key role in our well-being, striving to get more sleep is a good start. But it's not simply sleep duration that we need to pay attention to. Sleep quality is just as important, this refers to restful sleep or how you slept rather than for how long.

You can support better sleep in multiple ways:

  • Avoiding screen time before bed
  • Improving your sleep hygiene by making your sleeping environment as comfortable as possible
  • Adopting a consistent sleep schedule
  • Avoid drinking too much caffeine and alcohol

If you’re looking for a way to support both your sleeping habits and healthy muscles at the same time, you may want to consider increasing your magnesium intake. Magnesium is an essential mineral that not only supports muscle performance and recovery but has also been shown to have a calming effect on the body which can promote optimal sleep and a better night’s rest. [7]

In fact, its benefits don’t stop there. Magnesium helps promote so many different aspects of our health, it’s sometimes referred to as the “do-it-all” mineral. You can read more about the benefits of this multi-tasking essential mineral here


Did you find this article helpful? Join our community for more wellness tips, healthy recipes, how-to videos, yoga and exercise tutorials, and exclusive content created by the Primal Harvest tribe. 



1. Ramar K, Malhotra RK, Carden KA, Martin JL, Abbasi-Feinberg F, Aurora RN, Kapur VK, Olson EJ, Rosen CL, Rowley JA, Shelgikar AV, Trotti LM. Sleep is essential to health: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement. J Clin Sleep Med. 2021 Oct 1;17(10):2115-2119. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.9476. PMID: 34170250; PMCID: PMC8494094.

2. M. Dattilo, H.K.M. Antunes, A. Medeiros, M. Mônico Neto, H.S. Souza, S. Tufik, M.T. de Mello, Sleep and muscle recovery: Endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis, Medical Hypotheses,
Volume 77, Issue 2, 2011

3. Van Cauter E, Plat L. Physiology of growth hormone secretion during sleep. J Pediatr. 1996 May;128(5 Pt 2):S32-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(96)70008- PMID: 8627466.

4. Cintineo HP, Arent MA, Antonio J, Arent SM. Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training. Front Nutr. 2018 Sep 11;5:83. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2018.00083. PMID: 30255023; PMCID: PMC6142015.

5. Judge LW, Bellar DM, Popp JK, Craig BW, Schoeff MA, Hoover DL, Fox B, Kistler BM, Al-Nawaiseh AM. Hydration to Maximize Performance and Recovery: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Among Collegiate Track and Field Throwers. J Hum Kinet. 2021 Jul 28;79:111-122. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2021-0065. PMID: 34400991; PMCID: PMC8336541.

6. Olsen O, Sjøhaug M, van Beekvelt M, Mork PJ. The effect of warm-up and cool-down exercise on delayed onset muscle soreness in the quadriceps muscle: a randomized controlled trial. J Hum Kinet. 2012 Dec;35:59-68. doi: 10.2478/v10078-012-0079-4. Epub 2012 Dec 30. PMID: 23486850; PMCID: PMC3588693.

7. Arab A, Rafie N, Amani R, Shirani F. The Role of Magnesium in Sleep Health: a Systematic Review of Available Literature. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2023 Jan;201(1):121-128. doi: 10.1007/s12011-022-03162-1. Epub 2022 Feb 19. PMID: 35184264.


Note: The information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your physician and should not be construed as individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The testimonials on this website are individual cases and do not guarantee that you will get the same results. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only.

You may also like

Primal Greens

A delicious greens powder with 50+ superfoods

Primal Multi Collagen

Multi collagen formula with 5 collagen types

Primal Gut Restore

A comprehensive 3-in-1 approach to gut

Primal Flex

Premium holistic formula for healthier joints


Your Cart

Empty cart

Your shopping cart is empty