When you’re just starting out in the gym, you quickly come to learn that having a protein shake after a workout is considered a must-do. And for a good reason – getting in a mix of carbs and protein after training will help you recover faster and build muscle more efficiently.
But what about other times of the day? For example, are there benefits from having protein powder before bed? And if there are, what’s a good protein shake recipe for the nighttime? Let’s take a look.
4 Benefits of Having a Protein Shake Before Bed
Protein powders are a great way to add extra protein to any meal – breakfast, lunch, and even a midday snack. And so, having protein with all your main meals and after a workout is considered to be essential for any person looking to stay fit.
However, you might be surprised to learn that several studies have shown that having protein powder before bed can have serious benefits and help you improve strength and grow muscle size. And if you still don’t believe it, let’s take a deeper look into the three main benefits of drinking a protein shake before going to sleep.
It Helps Build and Preserve Muscle
Drinking a protein shake at night is shown to help with overnight muscle protein synthesis, a process crucial for building muscle.
Our bodies constantly cycle through periods of MPS (muscle protein synthesis) and MPB (muscle protein breakdown), and the more you train, the faster your MBP becomes. And so, getting a dose of protein before sleep can be beneficial in helping you maintain a positive protein balance during the cycle, which is required for muscle building.
When you’re sleeping, your body can’t stimulate muscle growth, which leads to MBP. However, if you have enough protein in your system before going to bed, that can help you maintain muscle at the very least.
Enhances Your Energy Levels
Having more lean muscle mass helps you work out for longer – that’s a fact. What’s interesting to note is that, according to a study conducted in 2016, if you have at least 40 grams of protein before sleep, that will promote your body’s skeletal muscle adaptive response.
And your adaptive response is an indication of how much intense exercise you’re able to do. So it’s clear – a protein supplement before bed can help you with muscle recovery, leading to more strength and endurance.
Improves Sleep Quality
Getting in your protein before going to bed can improve your sleep quality, as it pushes tryptophan (an amino acid) into your body. Tryptophan is known for increasing the production of the so-called “happy hormone,” serotonin, and the sleep-inducing one, melatonin.
What’s even more interesting is that mixing your protein powder with milk, yogurt, and soy milk will further enhance your tryptophan ingestion, as those products also contain this same amino acid.
Sleep is vital to everyone who trains regularly, as it’s the best way for the body to recover. When we fall into the deep sleep or NREM (non-rapid eye movement) stage of our sleep, our brain releases HGH (Human Growth Hormone). That hormone promotes recovery by pushing blood flow to the muscles and helping them repair and regenerate.
Accelerates Weight Loss
Most people start drinking protein shakes when they’re trying to get in shape – to lose or gain weight. The interesting thing is that if you fall into the first category (of people attempting to slimmer down), you might be surprised to learn that protein shakes before bed can help you burn calories as you’re sleeping.
Having a protein shake at night promotes MPS and makes your metabolism more active, as your body requires energy to digest the protein you consume before bed. Consuming energy means that your body is continuing to burn calories, even while sleeping, which can aid weight loss.
However, it’s vital to remember to watch your entire calorie intake for the day. If you’re trying to lose weight, you should be consuming fewer calories than you’re burning, and if you’re not following the numbers throughout the day, that extra protein shake before bed might slow down your progress.
Nighttime Protein Shake Recipe
As we discussed, having a protein shake and another tryptophan source can further improve sleep quality, so our recipe makes sure to deliver that. For it, you will need the following:
- ½ cup of milk (can be soy or normal cow milk)
- One banana (can be frozen)
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ½ cup frozen berries
- Two tablespoons of oats
- One scoop of protein (preferably casein)
Add all the ingredients into a blender and wait until the texture becomes smooth. It’s a good idea to add water as the blender works; that way, you will be able to get your desired consistency.
Nighttime Protein Shake Recipe
- 1/2 cup milk soymilk or cow milk
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup berries frozen
- 2 tbsp oats
- 1 scoop protein
- Add all the ingredients into a blender and wait until the texture becomes smooth. It’s a good idea to add water as the blender works; that way, you will be able to get your desired consistency.