I know about the importance of good sleep after strength workouts, due to the release of growth hormone during deep sleep.

No matter how hard I try, my body refuses to sleep more than 6 hours. Going to bed early only means I will wake up spontaneously before the alarm clock. The only exception happens when I sleep two hours or less (not often), then my body will allow me to sleep for 8 or 9 hours the following day.

A few days ago I had my strength training session after having slept only 2 hours. I didn´t perform much worse than usually. Interestingly, since I had some sleep debt I could go to bed early that night and get 9 hours of natural post-workout sleep!

Which leads me to the following: perhaps it is not a bad idea to restrict your sleep time the night before a workout, so that you get more sleep the night before, just before having exposed your muscles to micro-trauma in the Gym.

Is that a known method? Is it unhealthy?

  • 1
    Sleep your 6 hours daily. Increase it when/if you can. Monitor your progress. Adjust as needed. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 15:26
  • 1
    After you start working out harder, you will begin to sleep longer. At least that's what happened to me.
    – s3v3ns
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 6:22
  • 1
    I monitor the times I go to bed, fall asleep and wake up daily with a spreadsheet. I check the average of the last 7 days daily, and it is nearly always around 6 hours. It is somewhat frustrating: I do my strength workouts, I pay my duties so to say, but my body refuses to sleep more.
    – Mephisto
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 6:50
  • 1
    Then it does not need more. Just keep doing what you do.
    – s3v3ns
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 9:02

4 Answers 4


This is a terrible idea.

Being sleep-deprived makes that workout suffer, particularly for high-intensity workouts.

More importantly, sleep debt is not "paid back" with a single night of copious sleep. Not getting enough sleep can take a few days to fix.


Being deprived of sleep can significantly affect your testosterone levels. "I can drop your testosterone level to zero by depriving you of sleep for one night." - Dr. Kirk Parsley

I would recommend against your approach. For more information about the importance of sleep, listen to this episode of Barbell Shrugged.


I wrote a full blown blog post on this exact issue. You can check it out here: http://www.primalbulletproof.blogspot.co.nz/2015/01/my-favourite-sleeping-well-techniques.html

To summarize, sleep is critical for immunity repair and to be at your cognitive peak. I can especially feel the lack of sleep the morning after when I do my gym training session. Everything feels a bit harder and you don't even enjoy the day as much.

Here are some suggestion and recommendation which will help you sleep better:

  1. Most important thing is to sleep in a dark room. Turn off all the damn lights, put your electronic devices in flight mode.

  2. Timing and routine: It's helpful to sleep on the same time everyday, including weekends. Body\brain likes routine. Even if you sleep late some day, you will notice that you will still end up waking up at the same time. This is because body has already started releasing cortisol hormone which reaches it's peak just before we get up and that helps us wake up.

  3. Lighting before you sleep: Excessive indoor lighting after sunset inhibits melatonin production, that's your sleep hormone. Try reducing the light at home or in your room as your get closer to sleep time.

  4. Blue blockers and f.lux - All of us end up watching TV or using digital devices even very close to the sleep time. It's a great idea to wear blue blockers in the night and optionally run f.lux software on your laptop\mac. Blue blockers will block with blue spectrum of light which inhibits melatonin production.

  5. Try honey and magnesium: Magnesium helps relax muscles (in addition to 100s of other things for which it is needed). Get a good magnesium supplement, the ones ending in -ate. Have it just before you sleep. Optionally, also try half a spoon of raw honey before you sleep. Make sure to use the raw one and not processed one. Honey being fructose is metabolized by the liver and brain preferentially uses liver glycogen (or sugar) in the night, as we sleep. Remember, brain is still doing critical work and processes as we are sleeping and this extra bit of energy in the form of liver glycogen will keep it happy.

  6. Food: Get plenty of fat and some carbs in the night: Fats will provide you with steady and sustained energy as you sleep. Carbs in the night (back loading) instead of in the morning (front loading) is a much smarter idea for most people. I have starches like rice and sweet potato in mind. I can't recommend whole bread since it has gluten and even otherwise is very processed and is made from grains.

  7. No coffee after 2 pm: Or at least 8 hours before you sleep.

  8. Hot shower before sleeping - I haven't tried this personally but some people swear by it. Take a hot shower before you sleep and just relax in the bath tub for a bit. If you like, even put on some candles. May sound a bit woo woo but it's all about setting up the environment and giving your body and brain some time to diffuse and relax.

Hope it helps.

  • 1
    I am trying nearly all those things now! Even wearing glasses: mine are yellow instead of orange. Only the honey is new. Yours and the other answer make me think I should try adding carbs to my dinner. It should be carbs that gets digested slowly, so that they maintain a low but steady sugar level during the night. I guess honey is ok, but wouldn't it be better to have whole bread instead? I cannot ask directly here, it would be closed as "off-topic"
    – Mephisto
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 7:09
  • 1
    Some anonymous user has suggested adding an edit to your answer, in which anoter point is added to your list suggesting having fat and slow carbs for dinner. Whereas I may agree on the matter, I don't like editing other people's answers. That must be deserved to the user who wrote the answer. In contrary to SE rules I see such editing as a lack of respect towards the author of the answer. Only grammar and typos should be corrected IMO. I suggest the anonymous user to add his/her own answer with his/her valuable suggestions. In any case it is not me who should be asked to approve such edit.
    – Mephisto
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 20:02


Quit drinking too much coffee. It helps. Also low carb diets reduce sleep hours and fasting as well.

But generally , there is no reason to sleep less in order to sleep more. Heavy workout effect is much longer then 1 day.

  • 1
    I drink no coffee at all. But I am on low carbs... Pehaps I should try adding some carbs to my dinner.
    – Mephisto
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 6:43
  • I usually have fish or eggs (protein) for dinner and one piece of fruit. When I try to eat more than that, then I weight more the next morning (I monitor my weight daily). But you may be right, usually I am somewhat hungry during the night.
    – Mephisto
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 6:54
  • 1
    >> I weight more the next morning this is water weight. One gram of carbs in glycogen is tied with 3 grams of water or so .
    – Sergey
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 11:12
  • Really? Makes sense. I had thought it was subcutaneous fat. I should definitely try having some more carbs in my dinner.
    – Mephisto
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 14:02
  • 1
    There are several problems with very low carbs diets. most important are low workout capacity , alcohol intolerance and weird emotional swings. Manipulating carbs is a known way to drop weight quickly. for example for boxers when weighing before a fight. I once dropped 7 kilograms during 3 days . Water.
    – Sergey
    Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 18:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.