How Sleep Affects HGH? Is There A Relation?

(Last Updated On: August 8, 2019)

Hormone is a chemical produced by a gland or cell in some part of the body that affects cells in some other part. In fact, hormones are the chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream to organs and tissues. They are basically involved in a lot of bodily processes like growth and development, sexual function, reproduction, and metabolism, etc.

It is believed and proved that specific sleep phases are related to hormonal release in the body. For instance, it has been noted that during the deep sleep stage, there is a rise in production of HGH that stimulates cell regeneration and reproduction. In a study conducted by Lampl & Johnson, it was found that the growth spurts of infants were linked with more sleep and the thought to explain this actually related to deep sleep and associated increase in human growth hormone.

Also, sleep disturbances and lack of sleep have been shown to provide a negative impact on hormonal balances. Like for example Leptin, which is the appetite suppressing hormone has been found to reduce after several nights of sleep disturbance. Also, Ghrelin, the appetite stimulating hormone has been found to get increased after sleep disturbance. Changes to these hormones due to lack of sleep encourage people to add on extra calories.

So, before we go deep into understanding the relation between sleep and growth hormone, it is important to first know what HGH basically is.

What is HGH?

Human growth hormone or simply HGH is a crucial part of the endocrine system. It is mainly active during the child’s maturation period. Further, it is released by the brain’s pituitary gland into the bloodstream while we sleep and its production is, therefore, a very important part of restoration and repair function of sleep.

HGH is indeed a complex protein that is produced by the pituitary gland and so in addition to improving growth and development; it even helps to maintain healthy tissues during adulthood. The pea-sized pituitary gland secretes growth hormone not continuously and this release looks just like a pulse. Talking about the benefits of HGH, it promotes healthy metabolism, enhances overall physical performance and much more.

What if you do not release enough HGH?

On the other hand, low levels of growth hormone can make you gain oodles of weight and increase the risk of facing diseases. The brain secretes HGH in the bloodstream during exercise however it is even produced during Stage 3 sleep, called as deep sleep that occurs after an hour of your sleeping and then again about 4 to 5 times all through the night. Around one-quarter of your sleep time is actually spent in Stage 3 sleep and it is also the most restorative and important part. So if you do not get enough sleep, chances are high that your body doesn’t get into the different cycles of Stage 3 sleep and thus is not producing optimal amounts of HGH.

Think of growth hormone as the natural foundation of youth that your body produces under optimal sleep situations. Thus, the best way possible to ensure that you are harnessing your body’s energy is to improve your overall lifestyle, diet, sleep and exercise patterns.

So when is HGH released during sleep?

Both exercise and sleep induce release of HGH. Experts say that as much as 75% of HGH is secreted during the sleep hours. In healthy people, the main period of HGH production takes place during the first period of Stage 3 deep sleep during night, say about an hour after you fall asleep. Also, deep sleep is called the slow-wave sleep which accounts for one quarter of your sleep every night. Slow wave sleep is the stage when HGH is secreted and it works to rebuild and restore the muscles and overall body from the day’s stress.

How does sleep affect GH production?

An individual cycles through the phases of sleep 4-5 times every night. HGH is produced during the first few times when you experience Stage 3 sleep. Sleep restriction or deprivation has a great impact on your sleep cycle and also impacts the way your HGH gets produced during the initial cycles of deep sleep. So if a person stays up the whole night when he or she is normally asleep, there is no flow of HGH release. But after a period of sleep restriction, there is an extra hormone that is released as the sleep is resumed and the pattern departs from normal pulse during the deep sleep stage.

Medical evidence to support the sleep and HGH link

Scientists performed an experiment where they actually hid the participants away from daylight and other cues that serve as circadian hooks. These subjects were not even allowed to set their sleep pattern which in turn ended up in deviating from typical 24-hour cycle.

This experiment has actually been performed a lot of times but in this scenario, the scientists measured blood levels of GH and followed when the pituitary gland secreted the growth hormone. To this, they found that the peak levels of HGH that were released during the sleep decreased considerably. Also, the first slow-wave sleep phase of the night was short and the first REM took place sooner.

After the study, the researchers concluded that the timing of sleep phases can change the total amount of HGH secreted during sleep.


How should one increase HGH levels naturally?

The best way to increase HGH levels is through following a good sleep pattern and getting quality sleep on regular time. High quality sleep for adults means uninterrupted sleep for 7-9 hours per night. Along with following a good sleep schedule, one should also exercise every day to promote the secretion of natural HGH. Pulses of growth hormone are secreted during the daytime and can be severely affected by the lack of good diet and exercise. Also, exercise promotes quality sleep by expending the energy and so sleep, exercise and HGH all are related to each other.

Further, studies have reported that the largest HGH pulses take place before midnight with smaller pulses in early morning hours. This shows that sleep is an important part of overall HGH production.


So now that you know HGH and sleep are related, it is good to indulge in healthy and clean eating, regular exercising and taking high quality sleep for at least 7 to 9 hours each night. All this will eventually lead to secretion of natural HGH in the body and will help in saying goodbye to various illnesses and health conditions.