I've Been Saying This for Decades
I've been saying it for decades. Sleep time is prime time for maximizing the anabolic and performance enhancing effects of exercise. I stressed optimizing your hormones and providing protein while you sleep over 4 decades ago and practiced what I preached to win my many national, regional and international tittles in powerlifting. Then when I started my own nutritional supplement company in the 1990s I formulated Myosin Protein, which was maximized for night time anabolism, and at the same time introduced NitAbol, a three supplement combo formulated for maximizing night time nutrition.
Decades later there still wasn't any relevant research that backed up what I've been saying all these years. But then that's nothing new as it took decades for research to validate some of my early work on my phase shift diets, and I suspect it will be several more years before research validates the rest.
However, as far as my approach to night time nutrition, a recent paper has backed up what I've been saying about the importance of protein before bed to enhance recovery and increase protein synthesis.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Aug;44(8):1560-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824cc363.
Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery.
Department of Human Movement Sciences, NUTRIM School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
The role of nutrition in modulating postexercise overnight recovery remains to be elucidated. We assessed the effect of protein ingestion immediately before sleep on digestion and absorption kinetics and protein metabolism during overnight recovery from a single bout of resistance-type exercise.
Sixteen healthy young males performed a single bout of resistance-type exercise in the evening (2000 h) after a full day of dietary standardization. All subjects were provided with appropriate recovery nutrition (20 g of protein, 60 g of CHO) immediately after exercise (2100 h). Thereafter, 30 min before sleep (2330 h), subjects ingested a beverage with (PRO) or without (PLA) 40 g of specifically produced intrinsically [1-C]phenylalanine-labeled casein protein. Continuous intravenous infusions with [ring-H5]phenylalanine and [ring-H2]tyrosine were applied with blood and muscle samples collected to assess protein digestion and absorption kinetics, whole-body protein balance and mixed muscle protein synthesis rates throughout the night (7.5 h).
During sleep, casein protein was effectively digested and absorbed resulting in a rapid rise in circulating amino acid levels, which were sustained throughout the remainder of the night. Protein ingestion before sleep increased whole-body protein synthesis rates (311 ± 8 vs 246 ± 9 μmol·kg per 7.5 h) and improved net protein balance (61 ± 5 vs -11 ± 6 μmol·kg per 7.5 h) in the PRO vs the PLA experiment (P < 0.01). Mixed muscle protein synthesis rates were ∼22% higher in the PRO vs the PLA experiment, which reached borderline significance (0.059%·h ± 0.005%·h vs 0.048%·h ± 0.004%·h, P = 0.05).
This is the first study to show that protein ingested immediately before sleep is effectively digested and absorbed, thereby stimulating muscle protein synthesis and improving whole-body protein balance during postexercise overnight recovery.
The full paper is available at http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDAQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fforum.bodybuilding.gr%2Fattachment.php%3Fattachmentid%3D54025%26d%3D1348599730&ei=uZ3lUpLHJsK1kAe8uYFo&usg=AFQjCNGLrAlHnvIeLjIEJNE5-7OIhYADxw&bvm=bv.59930103,d.eW0
Also look at the 2013 presentation at http://www.gssiweb.org/Article/sse-117-protein-ingestion-prior-to-sleep-potential-for-optimizing-post-exercise-recovery which concluded:
- Dietary protein ingestion immediately after exercise increases muscle protein synthesis rates during the acute stages of post-exercise recovery.
- Muscle protein synthesis rates are low during overnight sleep even when dietary protein is ingested after exercise.
- If dietary protein is made available to the intestine during sleep, protein is normally digested and absorbed thereby increasing plasma amino acid availability and increasing muscle protein synthesis rates.
- Dietary protein ingested prior to sleep is effectively digested and absorbed during the night, thereby increasing plasma amino acid availability and stimulating post-exercise muscle protein accretion during overnight sleep.
- Ingestion of dietary protein prior to sleep may represent an effective dietary strategy to facilitate the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise training and to further improve exercise training efficiency.
While the info on protein intake before bed backs up what I've been saying we're still years away before research catches up to my theories about enhancing the anabolic hormones at the same time to maximize recovery and the anabolic response to exercise.
For more info on optimizing night time nutrition go to: