If you're considering using protein shakes to help your body recover from strenuous swimming workouts, you've probably heard a lot about how drinking one after practice is a good idea.
But what are the benefits of drinking a protein shake at night before you get a full night's sleep? It may seem counterintuitive, but let's take a look at some of the reasons why protein shakes work best before bed.
Ideal recovery period
Having your protein shake before bedtime allows your body to take advantage of this optimal time for muscle and system recovery. During this rest period, there is an increase in the synthesis of protein in the muscular cells.
But what kind of protein is best:casein or whey? To take advantage of this overnight muscle repair, you should aim for casein, a slow absorbing protein. Doing so allows the protein to enter your bloodstream and muscles slowly but steady, delivering a constant supply of amino acids to your body. Studies show that muscle protein synthesis during the night was 22% higher when casein was consumed before going to bed1. Casein is the best option since it has been proven that it increases this protein synthesis process for almost seven hours.
When you enjoy a protein shake before bed, you are stabilizing your blood sugar levels by bringing them back up a little bit instead of allowing them to drop during the night, ultimately slowing your metabolism. Contrary to popular belief that a bedtime meal will lead to weight gain, which is something that most swimmers don't want, keeping track of how much and what type of protein shake you have will help keep your metabolism and weight stable. In a study conducted in 2015, the researchers noted that it is "better to consume a single macronutrient such as protein rather than a mixed meal"2. A protein shake that's nutrient-dense and with fewer than 200 calories is an ideal choice. Our Nutriboost shake offers loads of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients with 120 calories per shake.
We already talked about the benefits of getting casein protein before bed, but do protein shakes work if they have whey protein? Whey protein is also important before bed because it is easily digested and is a nutritional supplement that adds high-quality milk protein to your bedtime meal. Dairy foods, like milk, contain tryptophan that is a sleep-promoting substance enabling you to sleep well and recover properly. Other foods that are high in tryptophan include nuts and seeds, bananas, honey, and eggs. For a great bedtime protein shake, mix a half of banana with your Nutriboost shake that contains both whey and casein protein!
Enjoying a healthy, nutrient-rich protein shake before bed is one of the best things you can do for your nutrition plan. Try it tonight and watch your performance improve tomorrow!