Sleep and HGH

If you’re into the bodybuilding world, you have probably heard about the use of Growth Hormone (GH, or Human Growth Hormone-HGH). Also known as the fountain of youth, growth hormone affects your overall health, longevity, looks, physique, memory, and concentration. HGH can also preserve telomere length, which increases your lifespan! But did you know how growth hormone affects sleep? We are going to go into specifics about the role sleep plays in growth hormone secretion and athletic performance. 

Growth hormone is released in the pituitary gland in the brain, and the hypothalamus releases the hormone that allows growth hormone to be released, called Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH). Each sleep cycle has 4 stages: 2 stages of non-REM sleep, 1 stage of Delta sleep (or deep sleep), and the final stage of REM sleep. Over the course of the night, you can cycle through these stages 4-6 times.  People with low levels of HGRH also tend to have low levels of growth hormone, and they also tend to have bad sleep in the first half of their sleep cycle, lower quality waves during their deep sleep. When the pituitary gland is not functioning properly, but the hypothalamus is, you can get lots of deep sleep but not a lot of REM sleep, leading to more drowsiness in the day. 

Bad sleep, no sleep, or sleep deprivation can cause: 

Poor or slower muscle recovery
Increased stress
Changes in mood
Feelings of tiredness, exhaustion, and higher levels of perceived exertion
Higher levels of brain atrophy 
However, increased sleep has shown the following effects: 
Mood elevation
Mental clarity (judgement, response time)
Better memory (short and long term)
Improved athletic performance
Associated with increased fat loss (because of the growth hormone)
Increased collagen production, and cell/tissue repair
You can increase HGH naturally, get a prescription from your doctor if you qualify (most don’t qualify unless there are severe underlying health issues), or from other methods. 
To increase HGH naturally, you can follow these tips: 
1. Get better quality sleep by making sleep a priority
2. Consider intermittent fasting – when you first eat after sleeping, growth hormone levels plummet. Delaying your first meal can increase how long HGH is active
3. Consume melatonin before sleep
4. Incorporate HIIT training into your exercise regimen
5. Supplements like GABA (Gamma aminobutyric acid) can be taken before workouts and sleep
6. Reach your protein goals to ensure you are getting enough amino acids, or take supplements
Ultimately, to increase the overall quality of life, unlock the fountain of youth, and have more effective workouts, you should prioritize quality sleep to reach maximum levels of HGH.