There are many different opinions on whether or not you should drink a protein shake before bed. Some people say that it's not good for your muscles to be working while you sleep, but others say that drinking one can help with muscle growth.
Some say that If you're looking for a way to lose those stubborn pounds without sacrificing your precious shut-eye, then drinking a protein shake before bed will help curb hunger and cravings while boosting metabolism and fat burning. What could be better than getting ready for bed knowing that I’ll be losing weight while sleeping?
So what is the best thing to do? And what is the best protein shake to take?
Should I drink a protein shake before bed?
This is one of the most popular protein shake questions around, and it pops up almost as much as "how much protein should I eat per day?"
The answer, however, is a bit complicated.
There are two elements to this question: before bed protein shakes for weight loss and protein shakes for muscle gain?
Will drinking protein before bedtime help me gain muscle?
This protein shake before bed won't help you gain muscle at all.
In fact, there isn't really a protein shake before bedtime, protein shakes are to be consumed throughout the day.
Excess protein intake (>1g/kg body weight) isn't particularly good for your kidneys so having protein shakes before bed shouldn't have an impact on protein intake for the whole day - however, it could have a small impact if the protein shake has calories in it.
Can I drink a protein shake before bed?
This is a question that has been asked by many protein shake lovers in the past, and it's probably time to answer this top protein shake question once and for all. While there are tons of protein shakes out there that can be mixed with water or milk (or even both) to make a delicious protein shake recipe, some protein powder users simply add their protein powders to their daily meals so they don't have to worry about having a protein shake after sunset - but if you really want to add a protein shake to your nightly routine, then should you add protein powder to your protein shake?
The answer is... it depends.
In other words, there are a few things you should know about protein shakes before bed..
Protein before bed won't make you fat
It's usually said that eating/drinking certain foods at night can cause weight gain. While there are some benefits to not consuming food after sunset, the claim that protein powder will make you fat isn't one of them. This meal replacement drink is made up of lean protein, digestive enzymes, and amino acids, all of which contribute to its ability to help people lose weight.
Protein before bed will make you feel full longer
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. It takes more energy to digest protein than it does carbs or fat, therefore your body expends energy during the process. This helps you to stay fuller for longer and oftentimes can lead to a lower daily calorie intake.
One study found that when participants consumed a high protein, low carbohydrate shake before bed they spent up to an hour longer in REM sleep. For every gram of carbs that the subjects dropped from their daily intake, they spent 70 more minutes in REM sleep. Essentially this means you are making up for the lost time when consuming extra protein at night!
Another benefit to your beauty rest is the hormone release triggered by the consumption of protein at bedtime. High levels of tryptophan are released which signals the brain to produce serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is generally associated with mood enhancement while melatonin regulates our internal clock (aka circadian rhythm). So if you want to be bright-eyed & bushy-tailed tomorrow, consider taking your last bite about 3 hours before bed.
In addition to the positive effects of protein on sleep quality, there is also a bit of evidence that supports consuming extra protein while sleeping may aid in weight loss and muscle growth! A 2014 study showed overweight/obese adults who consumed whey protein before bed (30g) lost more fat mass and felt more satiated than those who consumed it in the morning or afternoon. Keep in mind, the participants were instructed to follow a reduced-calorie diet (1,400 cal/day), workout 3x weekly AND stick to their normal eating habits outside of supplementing with 30g of whey before bed.
Use protein supplement as an alternative to going hungry at night
Many people tend not to eat anything after dinner because they don't have any food available or they just feel like fasting; however, doing so could set them up for failure. By turning to protein shakes before bed, individuals won't feel hungry or wake up in the middle of the night craving food. Instead, protein shakes for weight loss can help them to maintain their daily caloric intake while still feeling satisfied before bedtime.
Use protein supplement as a nighttime snack
Sometimes you just feel like having something right before bed, whether it's because you're bored or just want to settle your stomach before turning in for the night. Protein supplements can be great alternatives if you find yourself snacking on other foods during the night. Protein drinks can also make for an excellent post-workout snack.
A protein shake before bed is better than nothing at all, but will likely have little impact on your protein intake for the day
Some protein supplements can be very beneficial in providing your body with the protein it needs to build muscle. We recommend that if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and want a snack, have a protein shake instead of some other kind of snack, especially a sugary or unhealthy one. This way rather than missing getting protein throughout the night, you get some protein instead which may aid in repairing muscles during sleep.
What is the best protein to take before bed?
The best protein supplement to take before bed is casein protein. Casein protein is slow-digesting, meaning it takes longer for your body to fully digest the protein and thus absorb all of the amino acids. For this reason, taking casein protein before bed helps you get a steady supply of protein throughout the night while you sleep.
Just make sure not to mix up your nighttime protein shake with any other supplements that contain caffeine; doing so will only keep you awake later than intended!
Living in today's world means that lives can be very busy therefore consuming casein protein shakes, protein bars, protein cookies, and protein powders can be a great way to meet your protein needs.
While protein is found in dairy, soy, and animal protein too; casein protein shakes are the best choice for those looking for a more "night time" protein.
How much protein should I drink before bed?
One protein shake before bed won't hurt, but drinking protein shakes every night can result in weight gain. It is also important to consume protein during the day so that your body has enough to repair while you sleep. Protein shakes do take quite a bit longer for digestion.
According to protein.org, protein should account for 15% of your daily diet. With this number in mind, it is not really necessary to drink protein before bed unless you feel like it will help regulate your protein intake throughout the day. So, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or simply want protein before bed then go on ahead and have a protein shake before bed. Doing this can raise your protein intake slightly but will likely have little impact on protein intake for the day.
We recommend having a protein shake before bed if it isn't going to be detrimental to your overall health (e.g.: drinking excess protein shakes) - otherwise you can simply fit in more protein throughout the day.
Drinking a protein shake before bed is not always beneficial in the long run because it could result in gaining fat cells instead of losing them. Eating high-protein food throughout the day has been shown to have better effects on building muscles than just having one meal with an excess amount of proteins which might lead some people who do so into thinking they're getting results faster rather than taking time-consuming steps that involve exercising more often while also changing their diet habits.
Drinking a protein shake before may be helpful, but it’s best to eat the right amount of protein-based on your goals, during the day instead. Eating high-protein foods such as chicken, beef, or tuna will make your body use those calories to build lean muscle when sleeping instead of storing them as fat cells.
If you are looking for weight loss then drinking a light protein shake can be helpful but if you want to maintain or gain weight from the extra calorie intake, it might be best not to drink too many shakes per day.
At Awesome Health, LLC we strive to provide you with the most up-to date and comprehensive information possible. We believe everyone has their own needs in life so it's important to know that what works for one person might not work for another! As such please consult your doctor before taking any advice found on our site or through other channels like social media. We sincerely hope that our information can support you on your path to health and wellness.