The Case for Pre Sleep Protein
When deciding which kind of protein to have, it mainly comes down to dietary preferences. Most literature recommends either casein or whey as they provide all the necessary amino acids and high amounts of leucine, the amino acid that is thought to “trigger” muscle growth. Plant-based protein has lower leucine content so more needs to be consumed to have the same effects as an animal-based protein. Regardless of the source, the most important aspect is reaching 40 grams.
Regardless, pre-sleep protein is important for a number of reasons including improved muscle protein synthesis, recovery from exercise, increasing satiety (and maybe hunger the next morning), and increased lean muscle mass – especially when exercise is also performed in the evening (as opposed to in the morning).
One particularly interesting finding when consuming pre-sleep protein is that it does not seem to result in fat gain. This may be shocking as you might think eating before bed will lead to gaining fat mass. However, when research participants consumed either casein protein or a non-caloric placebo, there was zero difference in the overnight energy expenditure or the amount of fat liberated from the fat cells. Surprisingly, it turns out that pre-sleep protein does not blunt fat metabolism and may even help improve body composition over time.