If putting on muscle mass is your primary goal — and, really, what other goal is there? — then you probably already know that frequently eating ample amounts of protein is critical. You likely also know that getting 7–9 hours of sleep each night is a must for gaining muscle, because that’s when your growth hormone (GH) levels peak. Yet that represents a long stretch when you neglect to give your body protein. Would you go 7–9 hours without eating during the day? Not unless you want to look more like a marathon runner than a bodybuilder.

Going that long without consuming any food puts your body in starvation mode, prompting it to steal amino acids from your muscle protein to convert to glucose to fuel your brain and literally break down your muscle fibers. Although some obsessive-compulsive bodybuilders wake up in the middle of the night to eat and prevent this from occurring, a less extreme method is knowing what to take right before going to bed. Sleep on these five supplements — they will not only prevent muscle breakdown but also boost muscle growth while you slumber.


Casein protein is the major protein found in milk. It makes up 80% of the beverage, with the rest being whey protein. Casein protein is a better choice than whey at bedtime due to its slow digestion and absorption rate. Your best bet is to use a protein powder that contains some micellar casein, an undenatured (unaltered) form of casein that will clump together in the stomach and form a gel, significantly slowing its digestion. This allows the protein to provide a slow and steady supply of amino acids to the body for up to seven hours, so it doesn’t have to take them from your muscles. And if you take enough casein before bed, the extra will go to your muscles for growth.

Dose: Mix 40 grams of casein protein in skim milk or water, and drink it immediately before going to bed.

For the other four ingredients in Stoppani’s sleep-and-grow stack, pick up the February issue of Muscle & Fitness, on newsstands now!