Sleep as Recovery

  • Creator
  • #27121
    Adam Fern

    While reading Steve’s article about recovery, I was conflicted reading the paragraph about sleep. Steve, you state in that paragraph that REM sleep is most vital for promoting muscle recovery, anabolism, and is when growth hormone is released by the endocrine system. This is contrary to the reading and research I’ve done independently of UA (which is extensive) which indicates that deep sleep is when musculoskeletal recovery and growth occurs, whereas REM sleep is typically associated with cognitive restoration and memory formation.

    Steve, can you discuss further your source for this claim? While REM sleep is no doubt important, through my training I place a much higher priority on targeting healthy deep sleep cycles during the night.

    Thanks, as always,

  • Participant
    Adam Fern on #27140

    Incidentally, in a totally unrelated vein, how the heck do I upload a profile photo for the forums? Can’t seem to find it anywhere in My Account or in the Edit profile page within the forums….

    Anonymous on #27196

    The best way to use a profile photo with WordPress is to use That way the same email address and photo will be associated on all WordPress sites. More and more non-Wordpress sites also reference Gravatar, so it’s pretty handy.

    Adam Fern on #27268

    Got it, thank you, Scott!

    Steve, are you avoiding me? 🙂

    Aaron on #27281

    I found this 3 part interview on sleep very interesting and relevant.

    Adam Fern on #27282

    @Aaron indeed! I have listened to it. Peter Attia has lots of good stuff on his podcasts. Dr. Walker is a legend in the sleep science world.

    Anonymous on #27284

    @theflyingmtneer: Steve’s not avoiding you. He’s got a lot on his plate!

    Adam Fern on #27286

    @sws I’m certain of that. Two young boys is enough, let alone all the other stuff!

    Steve House on #27294

    Adam-Boy, I wrote that in late 2015 and can’t find my notes (or even earlier drafts) of that article. So rather than me try to re-create or figure out what/where I found that information let’s update this piece (if you’re willing to help). If you have been reading/learning more about this more recently you may have better, more up to date information that I have/had. I assume you’re referring to this:

    “Sleep: The most important tool for recovery is sleep, especially REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement). During REM sleep the release of several anabolic (growth) hormones are highly elevated. One of these hormones, GH1, is the body’s primary signaling agent for adapting to higher training loads. If you aren’t getting enough REM sleep GH1 levels will be reduced and your recovery will be impaired. Naps are a staple of elite athletes’ to insure they get enough REM sleep. Even a 30min nap can do wonders.”

    While I will stand by the effectiveness of naps, I’m quite keen to keep this kind of information up to date and appreciate the help of this community in doing so. send me and email at and we can discuss more there and then update this article as it makes sense. Thanks Adam.

    Adam Fern on #27368

    @steve thanks for the reply. I’ll send an email with further info but this PubMed article is a great primer on sleep stages and how sleep patterns change with age:

    Slow-wave sleep (SWS, stages 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep as determined by EEG), or deep sleep, occurs predominately during the first third of the night and is when the endocrine system is producing GH. The endocrine system is active throughout the sleep cycle, signaling with different hormones during different sleep phases to accomplish different things.

    Here’s another PubMed article that highlights a study that showed a strong correlation between exercise fatigue, an increase in the amount of deep sleep and, interestingly, a decrease in REM sleep during the sleep cycle following the exercise:

    Additionally, the podcast referenced by @aaron above with Prof. Matthew Walker is excellent. It’s a 3-part series, but the first part discusses items relevant to this discussion.


    frnkr on #27546

    Where is the like button for this thread? 😀

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