Human growth hormone (HGH) is released periodically throughout the day. However, 70-80 percent of HGH is released during sleep (good quality sleep). It doesn’t matter whether we sleep at night or during the day. The majority of HGH is released in the first period of Stage three sleep. HGH is used by our bodies for regulation, repair, and restoration.
Sleep passes through several stages and repeats over and over again until we wake up and start our next day. A complete sleep cycle lasts generally about 100 minutes. As the night progresses, the earlier stages become shorter and the later stages become longer. Stage one is light sleep. A person drifts in and out of sleep and can be easily awakened. Stage two is where eye movement stops and brain waves become slower. Stage three is referred to as deep sleep. There is no eye movement or muscle activity.
If we remain awake during our normal sleep time, we will not benefit from HGH release. The body will catch up a bit when a person finally gets to catch up on his or her sleep after extended periods of non-sleep. HGH will be released in slightly higher quantities to help make up for the deficit brought on by the extended non-sleep cycle. My personal record for staying awake is 166 hours – it was a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Good quality sleep is required to produce HGH. Caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate, etc.) can impact the quality of sleep if taken within four hours prior to going to sleep. Eating a large meal within three hours of going to sleep is also disruptive. When insulin levels are low, more HGH is produced. Conversely, when insulin levels are high (after eating – more blood sugar present), less HGH is produced. Eating before bedtime increases insulin levels. From a longevity perspective, it is not healthy