When Mr. Multi Olympia, Ronnie Coleman, takes his mid-day nap, you can be certain it’s not a beauty sleep!
Unlike Ronnie, most of us do not have the luxury to sneak a nap in the day and as a matter of fact, most of us are sleep-deprived and that is NOT good! Lack of sleep is expensive, unhealthy, and even dangerous. The National Commission on sleep estimates that sleep deprivation costs America $150 billion a year in higher stress and reduced workplace productivity.
It may also lead to tragedy. There is some reason to believe that the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor meltdown, the Challenger Space Shuttle accident, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill can all be attributed, at least in part, to people suffering from severe lack of sleep. A study published in the British journal, Occupational And Environmental Medicine, reports that getting less than six hours a night can affect coordination, reaction time, and judgment. According to the report, “16 to 60 percent of road accidents involve sleep deprivation.” The British Medical Association has warned that individuals who get less than six hours of sleep a night may have higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
SLEEP – SERIOUS STUFF FOR BODYBUILDERS
According to sleep experts, getting six or fewer hours of sleep per night is associated with increased daytime sleepiness, decreased performance and change in blood constituency that may increase generalized inflammation. This inflammation can lead to heart disease and hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. While most studies have focused on severe sleep deprivation, researchers at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa., found that just two hours of sleep deprivation for as little as one week is associated with decreased performance and activation of the inflammatory process.
A poll of over 1,000 adults at least 18 years old, conducted by The National Sleep Foundation, found that 63 percent of Americans don’t get the 8 hours they need. The poll found that nearly 20 percent of adults are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with their activities at least a few days a week.
Scientists at the University of Chicago are investigating a hormonal link between sleep, love handles, double chins, and expanding paunches. The link is growth hormone, which is produced during deep sleep. According to the U of C’s research reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), with less deep (or slow wave) sleep, there is less growth hormone produced. That deficiency is associated with increased fat tissue, abdominal obesity, reduced lean mass and strength, and reduced exercise capacity.
Sleep restores us. Deep sleep has several advantages besides increasing production of growth hormone. During deep sleep our blood pressure is lower and our heart rate is lower which in a sense allows for a temporary relief on our cardiovascular system. Deep sleep in men younger than 25 constitutes about 20% of a nights sleep. Between 25 and 35, the time spent in deep sleep drops to about 12%. After age 35, it’s 5% or less. By the time men reach the age of 45, they’ve nearly lost the ability to fall into a deep sleep. After age 50, men’s total sleep declines by about 27 minutes per decade of age.
OK. We’ve established that we need to sleep more than most of us currently do and that our quality of sleep inevitably declines with age. So where do we go from here? The period from when you go to sleep until you rise in the morning is typically the longest that your body goes without food. While it is true that your energy needs are reduced during sleep, your body still requires nutrients to maintain and rebuild. In the absence of these nutrients, your body begins to break down stored carbohydrates (glycogen) and possibly even lean muscle tissue. This is particularly true for athletic individuals with greater energy requirements, higher levels of lean body mass, and lower body fat levels. Collectively, this effect is known as nocturnal post absorptive catabolism (NPAC).
What can be done to prevent or minimize this and turn this breakdown into growth and repair? Most nutritional scientists suggest that bodybuilders use a nighttime mixed blend of proteins. Indeed, at Optimum we favor an Augmented Protein System (APS) each night before bed. It addresses both the first three to four hours of sleep where the body can still draw off of rapidly absorbed nutrients as well as the second half of sleep when NPAC typically kicks in.
When choosing a nighttime protein formula, here are critical ingredients:
A: Branched Chain Amino Acids – BCAAs (Leucine,Isoleucine, and Valine):
BCAAs are unique in that they are metabolized directly by muscle tissue. During prolonged activity and fasting (during sleep), BCAAs are oxidized (burned as fuel) to provide as much as 15% of your total energy requirement. Since your body only has a limited store of these essential amino acids, it is forced to catabolize lean muscle tissue when dietary sources aren’t adequately meeting your needs. Consuming sufficient BCAAs before and after training, as well as before sleep, helps to counter training-induced muscle breakdown and improves training recovery.
Contrary to some current marketing propaganda by whey-based protein companies, casein is a very high quality protein and is the protein of choice in the food and pharmaceutical industries where it is used in infant formulas, enteral nutrition products, as well as cheeses and numerous other food applications. Casein is the dominant protein found naturally occurring in milk.
Functionally, casein is more pH sensitive than whey protein (the other milk protein). It precipitates (falls out of solution) in acidic environments. Food processors use this characteristic to separate casein from milk in cheese production. A similar phenomenon can be witnessed in the human body when casein-containing foods like milk, cheese, or meal replacement products enter the stomach and solidify or gel. The significance of this is that it takes the human body longer to breakdown these solids for absorption. In fact, it is likely that casein is the most slowly digested of all proteins.
At first the thought of delaying digestion may seem counterintuitive; however, there are distinct advantages to having a protein that is slowly broken down by the body. First, it helps minimize protein use for fuel. If you overwhelm intestinal sites by supplying too many amino acids too soon, some of them will be oxidized for energy as opposed to being used for building lean muscle and aiding recovery. Casein is profoundly anti-catabolic. Casein provides satiety (the feeling of fullness or satisfaction). Mechanically, casein solidifies and exerts a slight pressure on the stomach wall, which in turn signals the brain to stop eating because the stomach is full. This is the most critical ingredient that defines a nighttime protein and as such, if a formula lacks casein, it cannot be truly defined as a nighttime formula because it simply does not address the second phase of sleep when NPAC appears.
C: Glutamine Peptides:
Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid that constitutes more than 60 percent of the free amino acids in skeletal muscle. It is well recognized throughout the athletic community for its apparent positive effects on growth hormone, testosterone, cell volumization, and immunity. More recently, researchers have shown a potential link between the size of the glutamine “pool” and the rate of protein synthesis in muscle. Some scientists maintain that glutamine peptides are absorbed at a rate that is approximately double that of equivalent amounts of free-form L-Glutamine.
D: Hydrolyzed Whey Peptides (HWPs):
Research suggests that HWPs are more easily absorbed and utilized than any other form of whey protein. Including HWPs into a nighttime augmented protein system helps ensure the body has an extremely high quality and rapidly absorbed source of protein to use during the initial sleep phase.
E: Whey Protein Isolate (WPIs):
WPIs contain up to 97-98 percent pure protein by dry weight. This means that like HWPs, the body has another well-absorbed and pure (minimal undesirables such as fat and lactose) protein to draw upon during the initial sleep phase before NPAC kicks in.
F: Important Supporting Ingredients:
This is a patented enzyme system that liberates free form amino acids from protein-containing foods and supplements. Controlled laboratory studies using Aminogen have shown this compound to release up to 42 percent more free-form amino acids from intact proteins. Aminogen may also increase the anti-catabolic effects of whey protein by increasing the circulation time of amino acids in the body; thus reducing the negative effects of NPAC.
F2: Conjugated Linoleic Acid Somewhat controversial, CLA is an Omega-6 essential fatty acid: (CLA)
To equal to the levels shown in studies to promote fat loss, you would have to eat about six pounds of red meat or fifty slices of Colby cheese every day! First identified by scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1978, a number of animal and a few human studies have demonstrated CLA’s ability to increase lean body mass (LBM) while simultaneously decreasing total body fat, particularly when combined with an anabolic stimulus such as exercise.
F3: Fructooligosaccharides (FOS):
Also known by a variety of other names including Inulin, FOS is a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed the beneficial microorganisms in your intestines for good health. Prebiotics are a fiber rather than a living organism. As such, they pass through the digestive tract and into the intestines unchanged where they act as a food source to the indigenous probiotics, which can in turn thrive and impart health benefits. Formulas that include FOS may improve overall digestion and nutrient absorption.
L-Theanine is unique amino acid derived from green tea extract; studies have demonstrated L-Theanine’s ability to impart a calming effect thus improving relaxation, which in turn helps promote sleep and recovery.
ZMA is a patented, highly bioavailable form of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6, which has been shown, in a couple of initial studies with zinc-deficient football players, to increase testosterone and strength, while promoting a deep, more restful and recuperative sleep.