How to inhibit muscle breakdown while you sleep?

Learn from A to Zzzzzz about supplements to build muscle mass while you sleep!

If gaining muscle mass is your main goal, and, really, what other goal is there? – then you probably already know that it is essential to eat large amounts of protein frequently. You probably also know that getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is a must for gaining muscle, because that’s when growth hormone (GH) levels peak. However, that goes a long way when you don’t give your body protein. Would you go 7-9 hours without eating during the day? No, unless you want to look more like a marathon runner than a bodybuilder.

Going so long without consuming any food puts your body into starvation mode, prompting it to convert the amino acids in your muscle protein into glucose to fuel your brain and literally break down your muscle fibers. Although some obsessive-compulsive bodybuilders wake up in the middle of the night to eat to prevent this from happening, a less extreme method is to know what to take right before bed. Sleep on these five supplements – not only will they prevent muscle breakdown, but they will also boost muscle growth while you sleep.


Here are five supplements that will inhibit muscle breakdown and enhance muscle growth while getting your Zs.


Casein protein is the main protein found in milk. It makes up 80% of the drink, and the rest is whey protein. Casein protein is a better option than whey at bedtime due to its slow digestion and absorption rate. Your best bet is to use a protein powder that contains some micellar casein, an undenatured (unaltered) form of casein that will clump together in the stomach and form a gel, significantly slowing your digestion. This allows protein to provide a slow and steady supply of amino acids to the body for up to seven hours, so you don’t have to take them from your muscles. And if you get enough casein before bed, the extra will go to your muscles for growth.

Dosage: Mix 40 grams of casein protein in skim milk or water and drink immediately before bed.


Flaxseed provides essential fats that offer numerous health and performance benefits, such as better joint recovery and fat loss. It’s also a great addition to your bedtime casein protein shake. Healthy fats slow down digestion, further sparing muscle fiber protein overnight.

Dosage: Take 2-3 tablespoons of flaxseed oil with its casein protein.


You probably know arginine as the amino acid you need to take before workouts to boost nitric oxide levels for an incredible pump, but did you know that it also increases GH levels? It does this by inhibiting a hormone that normally inhibits GH release. If you take enough arginine, about 5 grams, the result is a higher GH release during the night.

Dosage: Take 5 grams of arginine in the form of L-arginine, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, arginine ketoisocaproate, and arginine malate or arginine ethyl about 30 minutes before bedtime.


The amino acid glutamine has a multitude of functions, including preventing muscle breakdown, boosting immune function, enhancing muscle recovery, and even increasing fat burning. Furthermore, glutamine effectively stimulates the release of GH. One study found that GH levels increased just 90 minutes after ingestion. A study by researchers at Louisiana State University suggested that glutamine’s ability to indirectly stimulate arginine production in the kidneys may be the potential mechanism for increasing GH levels.

Dosage: Take 5-10 grams of glutamine 30 minutes before bedtime.


If you train hard, you are likely deficient in zinc and magnesium, important minerals that are most often depleted in athletes. Replacing those lost minerals with ZMA, a combination of zinc and magnesium aspartate plus vitamin B6, can increase levels of testosterone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), two critical components of muscle growth. ZMA also improves the quality of sleep, which can lead to more optimal GH release during the night. Most of the ZMA products on the market today provide approximately 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium, and 11 mg of vitamin B6.

Dosage: Follow the directions on the label and take ZMA on an empty stomach about an hour before bedtime.