When it comes to supplements to boost muscle growth, there’s no shortage of avenues you can take to help it along.

BCAAs, HMB, creatine, pre-workout blends—there are loads of things you can take pre-, post- and intra-workout.

But interestingly enough, there’s a lot of magic that happens when your head hits the pillow.

Sleep is one of the single most important things needed to boost muscle growth, and if you’re not getting enough of it, your athletic performance won't be the only thing to suffer.

Despite the lack of awareness that happens during sleep, there’s actually a lot that goes on in your body concerning growth and repair.

So, if you’re looking to make improvements in pretty much any aspect of your life, but especially in terms of athletic performance and muscle growth, sleep should be on top of your list.

Why Sleep Is Vital For Your Performance

Sleep is non-negotiable, and if you’ve ever gone an extended period without it or had lots of poor-quality sleep, you can probably agree with that statement.

A lack of sleep is not only detrimental to your brain function but your physical performance, as well. Sleep has an impact on:

  • Reaction time
  • Motor function
  • Motivation
  • Attention and focus
  • Stress management
  • Muscle recovery
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Learning and memory
  • Injury
  • Weight management

A lack of sleep has also been shown to impede athletic performance in several ways, but most notably in recovery, decision making, and reaction times.

Did you know that sleep deprivation is comparable to intoxication in terms of reaction time impairment? For any athlete, that can be detrimental.

Sleep deprivation can also increase levels of cortisol—a catabolic hormone that can severely impair your ability to gain muscle, but also increases the likelihood of things like weight gain, blood sugar dysregulation, and more 1.

So, aside from supplementing, sleep should be your #1 priority if you’re looking to maximize your athletic performance and prevent wasting your time in the gym.

What’s So Special About The Night?

As we said, there’s a lot that happens in your sleep that’s beneficial to your physical performance, athletic goals, and in general, your overall health and well-being.

#1 - Hormone Release

This one is the biggie where muscle growth is concerned.

Growth hormone, one of the most critical contributors to muscle growth, makes a big appearance during sleep, especially in the early hours of the night.

This increase in GH is associated with the appearance of delta waves characteristic of slow-wave sleep and increased release of GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) in the hypothalamus 2.

Sleep is also the peak time of testosterone for men, while sleep fragmentation and obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to cause reduced testosterone levels in men 3.

As you probably know, testosterone is a hugely anabolic hormone.

#2 - Immune Support

Your immune system has a lot to do with how well you recover from physical activity, and as it turns out, sleep is critical to supporting a healthy immune system.

Cytokines like IL1, TNF, nerve growth factor (NGF), EGF, IL4, IL10, and other soluble and membrane-bound receptors all form part of the sleep biochemical regulatory network that regulates REM and NREM sleep 4.

Other pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL6 and TNF-α increase with prolonged sleep deprivation, which becomes detrimental to health and well-being.

#3 - Detoxification

An interesting point about sleep is that it helps to increase brain plasticity.

Specifically, this process allows your neurons to reorganize. During sleep, your brain’s glymphatic (waste clearance) system is working hard to rid the central nervous system of waste that has collected during the day.

It removes toxic by-products from your brain, which allows for effective functioning during the waking hours.

The Best Nighttime Supplements

If you want to take it a step further and maximize your performance, take these three supplements to boost protein production and sleep better.


It may not seem like an essential nutrient for nighttime muscle growth, but tryptophan plays quite the role.

It is an amino acid required for protein production, but perhaps more importantly, tryptophan is a precursor for sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin.

And like we just mentioned, sleep is critical to proper muscle growth and recovery. When we can get into a deep sleep, we also maximize growth hormone release, which is essential for boosting muscle protein synthesis.

Keep in mind that tryptophan has a lot of competition for uptake in the brain when taken with other larger amino acids, like those found in whole-food proteins.

Tryptophan requires a transport protein to cross the blood-brain barrier, which other amino acids take up preferentially.

As such, taking tryptophan in something like Performance Lab Sleep limits competition and boosts absorption rate to induce sleep and enhance protein synthesis.

Zinc + Magnesium

Want a natural relaxation and sleep aid? Take magnesium. And when you combine it with zinc, you can boost your muscle growth at the same time.

Most athletes are deficient in both magnesium and zinc because of hard training sessions, which means optimal body function becomes compromised.

Taken before bed, magnesium has been shown to induce deep sleep and lower cortisol levels during the night.

It also appears to play a role in modulating GABA activity in the brain, which is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter that supports calmness and sleep.

On the other end of things, zinc plays a significant role in the production of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 5.

The combination of magnesium and zinc is also necessary for regulating cortisol levels during sleep.

Now, cortisol isn’t inherently a negative thing when released during the night.

Still, an excessive release will not only wake you up from that deep sleep, but it has massive implications for other hormones in the body and creates imbalances that cause a host of other conditions like excessive weight gain and muscle wasting.

There is some talk that zinc and magnesium taken before bed may create a more optimal hormonal profile conducive to muscle growth in response to training, but there is limited evidence available to support this theory.

Natural Melatonin (CherryPURE)

When you think about a sleep supplement, your mind probably goes one of two ways: sleeping pills or melatonin.

The former is the traditional method used for things like insomnia, but the latter is the natural (and better) form.

While melatonin is great for inducing drowsiness by directly elevating levels of melatonin in your body, there are a couple of issues with the large synthetic doses you get from a 3, 5, or 10mg tablet.

  1. Long-term use of synthetic melatonin can actually amplify insomnia. Melatonin receptors get overloaded by both endogenous production and exogenous supplementation of melatonin, and the brain eventually becomes desensitized. You stop responding to what you’re taking, and you end up with insomnia, but worse than before.
  2. It can leave you feeling super groggy in the morning if you don’t get enough deep sleep. You know that feeling when no matter how many cups of coffee you drink or how much water you splash on your face, you can’t seem to wake up? Yeah, high dose melatonin will do that to you because it’s still circulating in your system the next day.

Don’t take this the wrong way because for acute usage, melatonin can be super helpful. That is, for things like jet lag, for example.

But where most people go wrong is dosing. A study from MIT revealed that an effective dose for someone struggling with insomnia is 0.3mg, nearly 1/10th of the dosage found in most commercially available melatonin supplements 6.

At that amount, is it any wonder why you feel groggy in the AM?

But let’s look at something a bit different: natural melatonin supplied by Montmorency tart cherry (MTC).

There’s ample evidence to suggest that melatonin from MTC may improve both sleep quality and sleep quantity 7. It helps to:

  • Reduce grogginess and drowsiness throughout the day
  • Promote feeling rested and restored upon waking
  • Promote sound sleep without nighttime interruptions

But the benefits of tart cherry extend beyond just melatonin. Montmorency tart cherry also supplies a complex of potent-antioxidants and amino acids, including L-tryptophan, that aids sleep in other ways 8, 9:

  1. Provides joint comfort—flavonoids and anthocyanins, both antioxidants, reduce and soothe joint aches
  2. Support serotonin production—L-tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in feelings of calmness

Unlike synthetic melatonin, tart cherry benefits work alongside your body’s natural melatonin production to help you fall asleep and stay asleep the whole night.

Best Supplement Options: The Performance Lab Lineup

The Performance Lab lineup offers everything you need to get the best sleep of your life and maximize muscle growth in the process.

Performance Lab Sleep offers a blend of natural low-dose melatonin derived from CherryPURE Montmorency Cherry, magnesium, and L-tryptophan.

With additional joint and muscle-soothing antioxidants, Performance Lab Sleep promotes deep sleep better than any synthetic melatonin supplement by:

  1. Relaxing the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, and brain
  2. Encouraging drowsiness by supporting natural melatonin and serotonin production
  3. Relaxing the muscles and reducing nighttime spasms
  4. Naturally soothing sleep-disruptive joint aches and muscle stiffness
  5. Stabilizing and resetting circadian rhythm
  6. Helping you wake up in the morning rested, rejuvenated, clear-headed, and ready to perform at your body’s maximum capability

With the high-quality Performance Lab lineup, you can guarantee your muscle-building capabilities will be maximized day in and day out.


  1. TP Braun, DL Marks. The regulation of muscle mass by endogenous glucocorticoids. Front Physiol. 2015; 6: 12.
  2. A Tarasiuk, N Berdugo-Boura, A Troib, Y Segev. Role of growth hormone-releasing hormone in sleep and growth impairments induced by upper airway obstruction in rats. Eur Respir J. 2011; 38(4): 870-877.
  3. R Leproult, E Van Cauter. Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men. JAMA. 2011; 305(21) :2173-2174.
  4. JM Krueger. The role of cytokines in sleep regulation. Curr Pharm Des. 2008; 14(32): 3408-3416.
  5. RS MacDonald. The role of zinc in growth and cell proliferation. J Nutr. 2000; 130(5S Suppl): 1500S-8S.
  6. Halber, D. (n.d.). Scientists pinpoint dosage of melatonin for insomnia. Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://news.mit.edu/2001/melatonin-1017
  7. G Howatson, PG Bell, J Tallent, B Middleton, MP McHugh, J Ellis. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012; 51(8): 909-916.
  8. DS Kelley, Y Adkins, KD Laugero. A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Nutrients. 2018; 10(3): 368.
  9. B Shukitt-Hale, ME Kelly, DF Bielinski, DR Fisher. Tart Cherry Extracts Reduce Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress Signaling in Microglial Cells. Antioxidants (Basel). 2016; 5(4): 33.