If you’re a fitness enthusiast, you may have wondered whether taking creatine before bed can have adverse effects. In this article, we will dive deeper into this topic and breakdown the science behind creatine, its benefits, and potential side effects.
Science Behind Creatine
Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical in the body. We get around 50% of it from natural processes in our body and the other 50% from our food. It’s an essential chemical that can help our bodies to increase our strength, muscle performance, endurance, and overall muscle mass.
Creatine is stored in the form of phosphocreatine in your cells in your muscles. This is where the vast majority of your creatine is held. Only around 5-7% of it is spread around the other organs in the body, such as the brain and liver.
This phosphocreatine that is stored in your muscles is what is responsible for helping your body generate more energy and power for your workouts. It does this by aiding in the production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), an essential high energy molecule.
When we have more ATP in our body, we have more energy that we can draw upon in our exercises. This will allow us to train harder for longer, improving our intensity and power output.
The Best Time to Take Creatine
The best time to take creatine seems to be either immediately before or immediately after your workout session. However, you don’t need to put too much concern over this as it is not as important as some people would have you think.
If you take the creatine before your workout, then you are supplying your muscles with the vital ATP stores that you need to push out those extra reps. If you decide to take it afterward, then you will simply be replenishing these stores ready for your next gym session.
Most experts suggest implementing both tactics, advising to take your creatine supplement around 30 minutes before your gym session and then immediately afterward to help restore and replenish the muscles.
Either way, simply having a consistent schedule with your supplement and at the right doses will be more than fine.
Is Taking Creatine Before Bed Bad for You?
The first thing to note is that creatine does not act as a stimulant. It will not increase your alertness and leave you irritated lying around in your bed as caffeine would. However, a lot of people report that supplementing creatine alters their sleep, and they document having a more irregular sleeping pattern. Interestingly, some studies back this claim up.
Researchers have concluded that creatine does, in fact, alter the way that we sleep. A key study found that creatine can reduce how deep our sleep is and can even lower our total sleep time, but this is not widely accepted.
So, while there is research that suggests supplementing creatine can have adverse effects on our total sleep time and the deepness of our sleep, there is no correlation yet to be found between a reduction in sleep quality and taking creatine just before bed. As far as we know, the disruption of sleep will be felt the same if we take creatine in the morning as it would be if we took creatine just before bed.
It’s important to note that creatine supplements are generally safe when taken in recommended dosages. For most adults, the recommended dose is 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day. It’s best to start with a lower dose and increase it gradually to avoid any potential gastrointestinal discomfort.
Overdosing on creatine can lead to side effects such as dehydration, upset stomach, and kidney damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to stick to the recommended dosages and avoid taking more than what is recommended.
Debunking the Myths
While there is some truth to the claim that creatine affects the quality of our sleep, there is no correlation between taking creatine before bed and a reduction in sleep quality. Some people can take creatine for years and not feel any disruption in their regular sleeping patterns.
Moreover, creatine has been reported to promote several mental health benefits, including increased cognitive function, improved memory, and increased focus. This is because the brain requires creatine for some of its functional processes. Creatine is naturally occurring in the brain, and when you supplement it, you will be increasing these levels as well as the stores in your muscles.
Potential Benefits of Creatine
In addition to the benefits already mentioned, creatine has been shown to have numerous potential benefits for athletes, bodybuilders, and people with certain medical conditions. For example, it may help improve muscle strength and mass, increase endurance, and speed up recovery time after intense workouts.
Some studies also suggest that creatine may help improve brain function and reduce fatigue in people with certain neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.
In conclusion, no evidence suggests that taking creatine before bed is bad for you. While some studies suggest that creatine can alter the quality of our sleep, this is not correlated with taking creatine just before bed. Taking creatine can be very beneficial to weight training and can help you push to higher highs much faster than you could without it.
However, it’s essential to stick to the recommended dosages and keep an eye on your sleeping pattern. If you notice a deterioration in your sleep quality, consider lowering your dosage or opting to take a different workout supplement entirely.
Can creatine make it harder to fall asleep?
While some studies suggest that creatine can alter the quality of our sleep, there is no evidence to suggest that it makes it harder to fall asleep.
How much creatine should I take per day?
The recommended dose for most adults is 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day. It’s best to start with a lower dose and increase it gradually to avoid any potential gastrointestinal discomfort.
Can creatine cause kidney damage?
While creatine is generally safe when taken in recommended dosages, overdosing can lead to side effects such as dehydration, upset stomach, and kidney damage.
What is the best time to take creatine?
The best time to take creatine is either immediately before or immediately after your workout session. Most experts suggest implementing both tactics, taking your creatine supplement around 30 minutes before your gym session and immediately afterward.
Is creatine only for bodybuilders and athletes?
No, creatine is not just for bodybuilders and athletes. It has potential benefits for people with certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, and can be useful for anyone looking to improve their strength, muscle performance, and endurance.