HGH, Food, and Sleep

Not only sleep but what you eat before going to bed can have a major negative impact on your HGH levels. With age, the nighttime sleep-induced growth hormone peak falls off. [1]

Growth hormone release is influenced not only by aging, but also by diet.

Insulin is antagonistic to HGH. Actually, the cause of growth hormone inhibition is not high insulin but rather high blood sugar. The issue here is whether eating carbohydrates before bed, which causes a rise in blood sugar, will stop the nighttime growth hormone surge. [2]

Studies indicate that fasting before going to sleep can increase sleep-related HGH output.

Based on all the evidence in both the sleeping and waking state, going to bed with a stomach full of carbs is hormonally a bad choice, because it completely shuts down nighttime HGH release. So, to enhance growth hormone output, it would be wise to not eat carbs at least 90 minutes before going to bed.

Seven hours of sleep per day is a good target for the average person. [3] Athletes and bodybuilders should aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep (including naps, which are optional but recommended for this group), to combat overtraining syndrome and to maximize performance and recovery.

Don’t worry about occasional sleep deficiency, the body responds to acute shortfalls in sleep by increasing sleep efficiency on the following night.

Every person is different relative to how much sleep is needed, but the range is not as wide as you might think – at least as far as hormones are concerned. [4]

While you may be able to “get by” on reduced sleep, eventually you will pay the price. [5] Before the consequences of sleep deficiency become evident, consistently getting less than six hours of sleep is likely to exact a toll in terms of increased cortisol (a bad hormone) levels. Even modestly elevated cortisol levels, over time, can create subtle but significant mischief.

Chronic sleep deficiency is prevalent in our fast paced society, and people who average less than six hours of sleep per night have an approximately 150% higher death rate than their longer-sleeping counterparts.

Bottom line: if you don’t snooze, you lose.

The sleep related release of HGH secretions is drawn a lot of attention of researchers, they’ve discovered that not only baseline hormone levels, but also hormonal rhythms determines health and rate of biological aging. [6]

Hours of sleep that begin earlier and end earlier are more in harmony with hormonal rhythms and are more valuable than an equivalent amount of sleep that begins later and ends later.

This is one of the many instances in which scientific research is consistent with ancient wisdom; the proverb “One hour’s sleep before midnight is worth two after” is surprisingly correct. Accordingly, to optimize hormonal status, maximize darkness hours spent sleeping and maximize daylight hours spent awake. [7]

This is another way of expressing the “early to bed, early to rise” adage, If you hesitate at this recommendation because you consider yourself a “night person,” you will probably find that once you change your sleeping pattern you become a “morning person.” [8]

It is probably no coincidence that the vast majority of long-lived individuals go to bed early, are “early risers,” and have routinized sleep habits.

Here are my top HGH supplement recommendations.


[1] US National Library of Medicine. Growth hormone secretion during sleep. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC297368/
[2] WebMD. 10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss
[3] The Journal of Pediatrics. Physiology of growth hormone secretion during sleep. Available from: http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(96)70008-2/abstract
[4] Psychology Today. The Mysterious Benefits of Deep Sleep. Available from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleepless-in-america/201010/the-mysterious-benefits-deep-sleep
[5] News-Medical. Study reveals connection between impaired hGH levels, sleep fragmentation. Available from: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20130605/Study-reveals-connection-between-impaired-hGH-levels-sleep-fragmentation.aspx
[6] Livestrong. Can You Naturally Increase HGH Levels? Available from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/28867-naturally-increase-hgh-levels/
[7] FOX News. Ways to naturally increase your growth hormone production. Available from: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/20/ways-to-naturally-increase-your-growth-hormone-production/
[8] Science Direct. Cortisol Enhances non-REM Sleep and Growth Hormone Secretion in Elderly Subjects. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197458097000365

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