If you’re researching supplements to add to your fitness routine, chances are you’ve looked into creatine. There are many questions on the table when you add this supplement to your routine: does it work with your health goals? Can you take creatine before bed?
The answers may not always be obvious.
Creatine is one of the best-research supplements in the athletic nutrition market.
Athletes of all levels take creatine powders, pills, or capsules. These can help you perform in the gym.
With good reason, since creatine can boost your energy, muscle growth, and even brain health. But does creatine contribute to a good night’s sleep?
In this article, we looked at what happens when you take creatine before bed. Let’s learn more about how creatine impacts your sleep.
What is Creatine?
First off, let’s get to know a bit more about what creatine is.
Your body naturally makes this powerhouse amino acid compound. You also get it through the food you eat. If you’re low on creatine, you can take it as a supplement too. Creatine is essential to energy production for high-intensity, short-duration activities.
Three other amino acids make up creatine: arginine, glycine, and methionine.
Are you ready for a science lesson?
Creatine helps regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Think of it as the main energy currency of your body’s cells. For activities where you need quick energy boosts (weightlifting, sprinting, etc.) your muscles use ATP as fuel.
It may sound complicated, but this cycle happens pretty much any time you work out.
In your diet, you can take in certain foods to get more creatine. Creatine-rich foods include:
- Red meat
Inside the body, your liver, kidneys, and pancreas produce creatine. After that, your body distributes most of the creatine to the skeletal muscles. In fact, your body stores about 95% of its creatine in the skeletal muscle system. Your brain stores the other 5%.
What Are the Benefits of Creatine?
Bedtime or not, you may be wondering, “Why should I take creatine in the first place?”
Several benefits can come along with taking creatine.
Creatine is one of the best-researched supplements on the market that you can take. It’s associated with energy production and muscle growth. How does creatine work within the body and how can it benefit you?
Creatine can help you:
Improve Muscular Strength and Power
Creatine powder ups the creatine stores in your muscles. This leads to more ATP production.
In scientific terms, it’s called adenosine triphosphate. But basically, ATP is the source your cells use for energy. More cellular energy can give you more strength, power, and endurance in your workout.
Better Muscle Mass
Talk about gains galore! Creatine can give you more muscle mass. Whether you take creatine before bed or in the morning, this supplement may help bring more water to your muscle cells.
This can give you more muscle volume. If you do resistance training, this can be especially helpful.
Can creatine make you smarter? Some research demonstrates that creatine may have a positive influence on your brain health.
In healthy populations, some research supports the idea that creatine can improve short-term memory, intelligence, and reasoning skills. That being said, creatine use has not been extensively studied on people with dementia or other brain health issues. That still requires more research.
Injury Recovery and Prevention
Creatine may help reduce inflammation and muscle cell damage following intense exercise. This can help you recover and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
Although there are many studies on creatine, not all bodies are created the same. Your response to creatine can vary. Creatine effectiveness can depend on factors including diet, training regimen, and overall health.
Considering creatine supplementation? Consult with your healthcare professional or a sports nutritionist to make sure you get the right dosage and that it aligns with your health goals.
Popular Creatine Products
In the sports nutrition market, creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine supplement that is sold today.
Sports nutrition is an ever-changing industry. New creatine-based products are constantly being introduced and marketed. Yet creatine monohydrate is the best-studied type of creatine that is still sold to this day.
Creatine comes in several forms including:
Although monohydrate is the most popular and best-studied type of creatine, you can also take a micronized creatine supplement.
How Does Creatine Affect Your Sleep?
Okay, now for the interesting part: how does creatine influence your sleeping habits?
If you’ve asked yourself the “Can I take creatine before bed?” question, you’ve probably seen a few different opinions floating around.
There has been some research done on how creatine impacts sleeping patterns in rats.
This study found that administering creatine diminished the sleep needs of rats. Creatine administration to the rats allowed them to operate on less sleep than they would need otherwise.
The full effects of poor sleep on sports and athletic performance still need more study. However, we do have information on a few of the negative consequences on performance caused by improper sleep.
A disrupted sleep cycle or poor quality sleep can:
- Increase your body’s inflammation: Chronic inflammatory diseases are the leading causes of death around the world. This includes conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
- Dysregulate your immune system: Poor immune function can reduce your body’s capacity to heal and ward off illnesses.
- Diminished cognitive performance: Too little sleep can impact your cognitive abilities. Things like your memory, reflex time, and attention span all fall into this category. If you’re performing in sports or athletics, an inability to focus or react promptly could have disappointing or even dangerous consequences. So it’s important to focus on getting healthy sleep.
So in instances where you may not be able to get as much sleep as you optimally would, it’s possible that creatine could help you keep up your regular sports performance level.
That being said, we can’t come to any full conclusions compared with an animal trial.
We would need a human study on creatine and sleep deprivation to help us know if creatine could lower your need for sleep.
Your body mostly uses creatine to build muscles. But creatine may have some effects on your sleep hygiene as well.
What Are the Benefits if You Take Creatine Before Bed?
Since it’s not a stimulant in and of itself, creatine can certainly be conducive to a good night’s sleep.
That being said, many commercial creatine products do contain additives that may impact their effects on sleep.
What Is the Best Time to Take Creatine?
Some studies show that taking creatine 30 minutes before a workout is the most effective strategy you can try to improve their effectiveness.
Can You Take Creatine Before Bed?
Many people wonder if creatine supplements will keep them awake.
As we saw in the study with the rats, creatine had a positive impact on the sleep cycle. If you take creatine before bed, the findings of the study showed less need for sleep overall when ingested.
Unlike caffeine, creatine is not a stimulant, so it shouldn’t keep you up at night. However, many pre-workouts or other supplement products contain creatine AND caffeine. These, combined with other additives as well can all impact your sleep cycles.
Make sure to properly read the ingredient list on your supplement packages.
If not, you may find yourself feeling restless, irritable, or unable to sleep.
Can Creatine Improve or Alter Sleep?
Can creatine make your sleep better? Scientists need to do more testing on this theory. We’ve established that there may be a correlation between creatine and diminished need for sleep. But we still need to study sleep quality for people who take creatine before bed.
If taking creatine before bed makes your sleep quality feel better or worse, it can be helpful to keep a supplement journal.
Tracking your supplement routine helps you make sure you get good quality REM sleep to keep your brain, metabolism, and cells healthy and happy.
Creatine has many different effects on your health. It’s also important to ensure the powders or pills you take are safe for consumption. Make sure to speak with a professional if you are considering changing your supplement plan.
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