3 Important Things To Note For Post-Workout Napping

Building muscle isn’t all about the reps. Rest and recovery is just as important, if not more. Without it, your muscles don’t get a chance to repair and grow. The best move? Napping after a morning workout. Recovery is needed for optimal performance. This lets muscles restore themselves and get bigger, the main purpose of exercising!

Most importantly, it decreases exercise-induced metabolites, the reason behind fatigue. Physical activity also throws off the energy molecules in muscle cells. Capillaries bring around less oxygen, and neurons in the central nervous system slow down.1 Without recovery, these effects will cause fatigue.


This can dampen your routine, even if you’ve made serious gains. What’s worse is that fatigue doesn’t stop at the muscles. Mental, emotional, neural, and metabolic fatigue are all possible. This is exactly why balancing recovery and physical stress will set you up for success.2 Obviously, adequate sleep is how you recover each day. But does napping have a benefit? According to one study, the answer is yes – if you time it right.

How Napping Can Aid With Muscle Growth

Sleep And Recovery Is Very Important

Sleep and recovery is the most important part of muscle growth


We all know that sleep is important for everyday recovery. It repairs your heart, blood vessels, brain, and immune system. Even your hormones “re-balance” themselves while you snooze. Clearly, sleep is needed even if you aren’t building muscle.3 When you’re trying to bulk up, sleep matters even more. It preserves glucose stores, our body’s main source of energy.4 Sleep also enhances mental energy and decreases the risk for injury.5

Enter recovery naps. In a 2010 study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, six participants completed 90-minute endurance training sessions. Afterward, they napped while researchers monitored their sleep quality. The focus was slow wave sleep, a period of rest that restores energy. Compared to earlier naps, late morning naps had longer slow wave sleep. Alertness and readiness to train also increased.6 These findings prove that not only do naps restore energy, but the timing matters, too.


Tips For Napping After A Morning Workout

After exercise, don’t just plop down in bed. Do these three things to maximize recovery.

1. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drink lots of water before napping to prevent cramps


Always re-hydrate before napping. During exercise, fluid is lost through sweat and heavy breathing. This increases your body temperature, which alters functional proteins in muscle cells. The outcome? Pain and cramps, the most common kind of muscle injury.7 Even if you don’t nap, re-hydrate throughout the day. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Stretch Out The Muscles That Were Worked

Stretch out the muscles were worked during the workout


Stretching will also prevent cramps. You don’t have to turn into a human pretzel, though. Simple stretches work just fine. Focus on the joints that were used during exercise. Gently move around for 3 to 5 minutes to encourage blood flow, circulation, and metabolite removal. This is exactly why cool downs are so important.8

3. Eat Right After Your Workout

Eating restores glucose stores that were depleted during the workout


Recovery isn’t complete without a post-workout meal. In the case of a morning workout, this is breakfast. Even if you had a protein-rich pre-workout snack, a post-workout meal is necessary. Exercise uses up glucose, the body’s main source of energy. That’s why a post-workout meal is needed. To maximize glucose replenishment, eat a 4:1 ratio of carbs and protein. Don’t wait too long! Eat carbs right after exercise. You’ll have time to digest before napping, and your glucose stores will be higher six hours later. The same can’t be said if you wait two hours or more.9

A post-workout nap works well if you get up early. But if you have work or school, do these three things anyway. It’s the best way to enhance recovery.