To drink protein powder before bed or to not, that is the question. Should I Drink Protein Before Bed is a very common question but at the same time one which has generated a lot of conflicting opinions!
So why do people drink protein powder before they go to bed? And on the flip side, why are so many people against the idea of drinking a night time protein?
As you may know, not all protein powders are considered equal - and we're not just talking about taste!
Different types of protein whether it be whey, casein, plant or otherwise all absorb at different speeds. And this speed of absorption is exactly what is going to determine what is and isn't a suitable night time protein choice.
During sleep, we are withholding our bodies from food and nutrients for up to 12 hours (depending on how many hours you sleep). And as we all know, our muscles grow while we sleep and are at rest - so making sure we have ample building blocks for recovery such as protein in our system is essential.
However, most dietary protein sources only take 2-3 hours to fully digest and help muscle recovery/growth, and we are sleeping for sometimes over 8, does that mean we will break down muscle tissue if we don't eat something in the middle of the night?
The answer to this question is no, so long as you have adequate proteinogenic amino acids in your body while sleeping, you shouldn't go into a catabolic state.
So how do we ensure we have adequate amino acids in our system to keep the catabolic state at bay? We need a slow digesting protein source!
A great slow digesting source is what's called a casein protein. This protein is different to a standard whey, casein is derived from the curds of milk and can take up to 8 hours to digest compared to whey which can absorb as fast as 30 minutes in some cases!
What this means, is that a casein protein is going to offer your body a sustained release of protein into the body throughout the whole night while you sleep!
What Protein Do We Recommend
When it comes to casein protein powders there is a big difference between brands! The first thing you will notice about casein protein powders is their mixability, most casein or casein blend proteins mix significantly thicker than a typical whey.
Our top three recommendations for a great night time protein are:
Not only do all three of these protein powders taste amazing and mix great. But they also offer very slow absorption of out to 8 hours, making them a perfect night time protein choice to keep your muscles fed all night long.
In addition to a night time protein powder, there are also lots of slow absorbing food protein sources you could add to your diet before bed.
Some of these include:
- Greek Yoghurt
- Natural Yoghurt
- Cottage Cheese
These natural sources of slow digesting protein offer a great cost-effective way to give your muscles the nutrients they need while you sleep! In addition to this, if you want to really up your protein intake before bed, try adding your favourite casein into yoghurt! Not only does this taste delicious, but it will give your body plenty of slow absorbing protein to keep your sustained all night long!
Do you take a protein powder before you go to bed? Let us know in the comments below why or why not!