Updated October 18, 2020Protein shakes are a popular food among athletes, bodybuilders, and active adults as the drink can help build muscle, shed weight, and improve your overall health. The drinks are also affordable, offered in countless flavors, and double as an easy snack or breakfast.Consuming a protein shake post-workout is often thought to be the best time to maximize your muscle growth and recovery, though drinking protein before bed may provide extra benefits. Drinking an extra protein shake at night can improve strength, muscle size, speed up recovery, and promote weight loss.Builds and Maintains Muscle MassProtein is vital to building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Your body goes through constant cycles of Muscle Protein Breakdown (MPB) and Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). MPS is a biochemical process to grow, recover, and strengthen muscles, while MPB is the opposite. Exercising accelerates MPB, though protein consumption stimulates MPS and aids muscle building.At night, when you are resting, your body goes into MPB. Based on a 2016 study, consuming a protein shake before sleeping augments MPS throughout the night and helps build muscle throughout the night.For optimal muscle gain, your body must have a positive protein balance, though your body’s amino acids—the molecular foundation to muscle building—are constantly depleting. When your body lacks amino acids, either from poor eating or the stress placed on your body from exercise or lifestyle, your body has a negative muscle balance. This is a state where your body is slowly losing muscle tissue. However, consuming high protein foods and protein shakes brings your body back to a positive muscle balance.However, simply drinking extra protein will not build your muscles. Protein consumption paired with a resistance-training program and adequate rest stimulates muscle growth and maintenance.Enhanced Athletic PerformanceConsuming protein aids strength and muscle growth and, in turn, improves performance when exercising. According to a 2019 study, ingesting protein before sleeping heightens strength during resistance training. Drinking a protein shake before bed also helps an individual workout for longer and build more lean muscle mass.Heightened Muscle RecoveryDrinking a protein shake before bed minimizes soreness and repairs torn muscles from sports or resistance training. A 2012 study compared two groups of young and athletic men who worked out in the evening. One group consumed 40 grams of casein protein before sleeping while the other drank a placebo beverage. The individuals who consumed protein had increased MPS and net protein balance, improving their overnight recovery.Aids Weight LossWhen trying to lose weight, a protein shake before bed can help burn extra calories as it increases the body’s resting metabolic rate the following day. Besides, your body uses more energy to metabolize protein compared to carbohydrates, thus burning roughly one hundred extra calories during the night.Also, protein keeps you fuller, suppressing late-night cravings. If you’re less hungry, you won’t be tempted to eat as much, further promoting weight loss.When paired with a healthy diet and exercise, protein stimulates muscle growth—muscle helps to burn fat. However, to properly lose weight, you must be in an overall caloric deficit, or burning more calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. Typically, a deficit of roughly 500 calories–from a combination of eating fewer calories and by burning calories through physical activity–is best for weight loss.Protein contains 4 calories per gram and certain protein powders contain carbs and fat as well. Generally, protein powders range between 100 to 300 calories per serving, though many people drink protein powder in smoothies so they can add ingredients such as milk, fruit, and nuts to further boost their caloric intake. While the extra calories are helpful when you’re trying to gain weight, they can be too excessive when losing weight.Recommended Protein IntakeAccording to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10 to 34 percent of the average adult’s total daily intake should be protein. For an individual who consumes 2000 calories, they should consume between 200 to 700 calories of protein or 50 to 170 grams of protein per day.Protein intake varies based on factors such as your genetics, height, weight, activity level, and amount of lean muscle mass. If you’re frequently sedentary, you do not need to consume mass amounts of protein. On the other hand, an active individual or somebody trying to build muscle should consume between .7 to 1 grams of protein per pound of body weight.FAQsWhat type of protein is best?The primary types of protein powders are whey, casein, pea, rice, and soy. Casein, soy, and whey are the only complete protein sources, containing all essential amino acids. There’s little to differentiate the benefits of casein, soy, and whey, though casein is the most researched.“Choose a high-quality protein powder, ideally one that is fermented and vegetarian-based, as many people react to whey and lactose in traditional protein powders. When a protein powder is fermented it increases its digestibility and absorbability in the intestinal system,” says Brittany Ford, Registered Holistic Nutritionist. “Use high-quality ingredients to go with it like full-fat coconut milk, organic greens like spinach, and low-sugar fruit like berries. You can also add a scoop of protein powder to yogurt for a snack if you don’t want to drink a protein shake.”Casein is commonly recommended because the body metabolizes it slowly, meaning it increases MPS for a longer period of time. It can also improve your energy and keep you satiated throughout the day. Whey, on the other hand, absorbs quickly, thus having a shorter MPS period.Soy, pea, and rice are plant-based protein options if you are lactose intolerant, vegetarian, or vegan. However, soy is the only plant-based option containing all essential amino acids and it has a slow absorption rate.Does a protein shake before bed disrupt sleep?Consuming protein before sleeping has been shown to have no effect on sleep quality. However, if a protein shake contains a lot of sugar, it can potentially delay your sleep due to the sugar rush. To prevent this, simply drink low-sugar protein shakes.Also, don’t drink too much at once or consume the wrong variation of protein, such as having a whey protein shake if you’re lactose intolerant. It can upset your stomach or cause bloating, making it difficult to get rest.Is it fine to have multiple protein shakes in a day?Yes, especially if you struggle to get enough protein in your diet from food, supplementing your protein is completely fine. It’s a quick and healthy snack, though the amount of protein you need per day will depend on factors such as your activity level, height, weight, and gender.What happens if you have too much protein?Although some people enjoy a high protein diet and its benefits, there is a limit to how much protein you should consume, eating no more than 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. For instance, somebody who weighs 150 pounds should eat no more than 300 grams of protein. However, this is an incredibly high amount of protein and it would be difficult to consume in the first place.Prolonged overconsumption of protein may lead to weight gain, kidney damage, calcium loss, heart disease, and an increased risk of cancer. Additionally, if you frequently receive your protein from sources such as red meat, saturated fats can raise your cholesterol.If you are worried you’re overconsuming protein, speak with your doctor about any potential health risks. If you eat a high amount of protein, try consuming lower-fat or less-processed options to balance everything out.What foods are good for muscle growth?When trying to grow and strengthen your muscles, high protein foods are essential. It’s easiest to gain muscle when you are in a slight caloric surplus, or when you are consuming more calories than your body burns. Beyond protein powders, incorporate foods such as lean meats, fish, greek yogurt, tofu, lentils, beans, and nuts into your meals to increase your daily protein intake.ConclusionNot only does a protein shake make for a healthy late-night snack, but its benefits are augmented when consumed in the evening. Although some people consume adequate amounts of protein during the day through food, an extra protein shake is still beneficial, especially when paired with regular exercise. Drinking protein in the evening extends Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) and keeps your body at a positive protein balance, aiding in muscle growth and burning extra calories.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.