Benefits of taking protein before bed

Our of friends from Crown Sport Nutrition, they bring us back to Triathlon News a very interesting content for the triathlete.

This time they tell us about the protein intake before sleep in the athlete, whether or not they have benefits and how it should be taken to be effective.

Everyone knows the role that proteins have in the general health of people and in sports, especially in performance.

Proteins could be called the basis with which tissues in the body are created and recovered, something of vital importance.

so have a Optimal protein intake is essential for all types of people.

It is important to know that taking protein in older people prevents them from losing muscle mass and in athletes, this intake can accelerate the recovery or gain processes.

protein in sport

in endurance sports it is important to have a high protein intake since due to the energy deficit that athletes who practice it have (due to training loads, volumes or insufficient calorie intake), the body tends to use body protein as energy substrate producing a loss of muscle mass (what is called muscle catabolism).

It is often thought that in a balanced diet you can consume enough protein, but in cases such as those mentioned higher consumption is required.

In sports like triathlon, an athlete must get to take up to 1,5 – 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

To achieve this extra protein you have to supplement with quality protein and efficiently.

Many studies on this subject indicate that protein supplementation is effective to increase muscle mass, strength and recovery in athletes, including those who play endurance sports.

Now, in addition, it is known what effects this intake has depending on the time of day in which it is made or what is known as timing.

Protein before bed: What does the science say?

Muscle mass is the result of the balance between muscle synthesis (anabolism) and degradation (catabolism) processes that alternate throughout the 24 hours of the day.

Whether makes a strength training and protein is taken right after upon completion, the protein synthesis increases.

Instead, if you do a fasted training or is prolonged without ingesting protein, muscle catabolism occurs, causing lose muscle mass

Based on this, in recent years it has been decided to eat protein before bed, it has been used normally casein, a type of protein that is absorbed slowly.

The theory is that if you take before bedtime protein synthesis is increased during sleep, preventing muscle catabolism that could occur in the period that is resting at night since no type of intake is made.

In these studies, it has been observed that there is more protein synthesis at night in athletes who finished their training around 21:00 p.m. and took 40 grams of casein before going to sleep.

A recently published systematic review of 9 studies, all dedicated to this topic.

This review concluded that the supplementation with 40 grams of casein 30 minutes before bedtime stimulates protein synthesis during the night and it favors the adaptive responses of the muscle if this strategy is maintained in the long term.

One example is a study of 44 young men who underwent 12-week strength training.

The group consuming protein (27,5 grams before bed) had increased strength and quadriceps cross-sectional area compared to the group taking a placebo.

Similarly, another study conducted on soccer players showed that those who ingested 40 g of casein 30 minutes before going to sleep had a better performance recovery the next day


More and more studies are showing that Eating about 40 grams of casein before bed could benefit athletes, since it increases protein synthesis during the night and thus favors recovery processes and gains in muscle mass and strength.

What is not clear is whether the effects produced by eating protein before bedtime are because the amount of protein is increased (globally) or if it is because of the time slot in which it is taken.

Although the same benefits could be obtained by taking the same dose of protein at another time of the day (which is not proven), the intake of casein before bedtime is shown as a very interesting option for athletesespecially the endurance ones.


Jäger R, Kerksick CM, Campbell BI, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition. Position Stand: Protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14(1):1-25. doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8 Snijders T, Trommelen J, Kouw IWK, Holwerda AM, Verdijk LB, van Loon LJC. The impact of pre-sleep protein ingestion on the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise in humans: An update. Front Nutr. 2019;6(March):1-8. doi:10.3389/fnut.2019.00017 Res PT, Groen B, Pennings B, et al. Protein ingestion before sleep improves post-exercise overnight recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012;44(8):1560-1569. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824cc363 Reis CEG, Loureiro LMR, Roschel H, da Costa THM. Effects of pre-sleep protein consumption on muscle-related outcomes — A systematic review. J Sci Med Sport. 2021;24(2):177-182. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2020.07.016 Snijders T, Res PT, Smeets JS, et al. Protein Ingestion before Sleep Increases Muscle Mass and Strength Gains during Prolonged Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Healthy Young Men. J Nutr. 2015;(C):1-7. doi:10.3945/jn.114.208371.1 Abbott W, Brett A, Cockburn E, Clifford T. Presleep Casein Protein Ingestion: Acceleration of Functional Recovery in Professional Soccer Players. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 2019;14(3):385-391. Joy JM, Vogel RM, Shane Broughton K, et al. Daytime and nighttime casein supplements similarly increase muscle size and strength in response to resistance training earlier in the day: A preliminary investigation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(1):1-9. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0228-9

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