drinking protein before bed

The Benefits of Drinking Protein Shake Before Bed

Discover the benefits of a pre-bed protein shake for muscle repair, metabolism boost, and improved sleep quality in our latest blog.
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Drinking a protein shake before bed can help satisfy your late-night hunger cravings while topping off your protein intake before calling it a night. But is drinking protein shake before bed a good idea? Read on to know more about the various benefits of drinking a protein shake before bedtime.

Protein shakes remain one of the most popular health supplements among active adults, athletes, and bodybuilders. 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, and speed up recovery.

Consuming protein helps keep your body in muscle protein balance. Protein contains essential amino acids important for this process. When your body is lacking amino acids from periods of not eating or oxidative stress caused by exercise, it causes a negative shift. Drinking a protein shake can help bring your body back into a positive balance necessary for optimal muscle growth.(1) 

How Much Protein Does the Body Need?

Proteins are one of the most important macronutrients required for the normal functioning of the body. They are the body’s building blocks and help repair damaged cells, create new ones, and are essential for building and maintaining muscle.

Based on the findings of various studies, it is recommended that a healthy adult should consume at least 0.8 g protein per kg of body weight per day. So, an individual weighing 80 kg needs to consume at least 64 grams of protein per day. However, the actual requirement may vary according to the body type, the activity levels, and the health needs of the individuals.

To meet the functional needs such as promoting skeletal-muscle protein accretion and physical strength, dietary intake of 1.0, 1.3, and 1.6 g protein per kg BW per day is recommended for individuals with minimal, moderate, and intense physical activity, respectively.(2)

Also Read: 4 Best Tasting Protein Powders

Why Drink a Protein Shake Before Going to Sleep?

A protein shake helps compensate for any deficits in the intake of this essential macronutrient as a part of a regular diet. Consuming the drink before going to sleep is known to provide a wide range of additional health benefits.

A review of the recent research assessing the effect of pre-sleep protein ingestion on muscle protein synthesis rates during overnight sleep has shown to be an effective interventional strategy to increase muscle protein synthesis rates during overnight sleep.(3)

Consuming protein before bed ensures that it is digested slowly overnight. This ensures better absorption of amino acids, which helps repair muscle tissue and provides faster post-exercise recovery.(4)

Trading your bedtime snack in for a shake may be a healthier alternative that can help you achieve your goals while still settling your late-night cravings.

Also Read: How Much Protein Does an Athlete Need?

Benefits of Drinking a Protein Shake Before Bed

1. Builds and Maintains Muscle Mass

Protein 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).

Exercising increases the rate of MPB, which creates a sort of protein imbalance. This results in faster depletion of the body’s amino acids, the molecular foundation of muscle building. A lack of enough amino acids creates a negative muscle balance, resulting in decreased muscle growth.

Consuming good protein shakes before sleeping can help restore this balance. When combined with adequate rest, such protein intake helps stimulate MPS, ensuring better muscle growth and preservation during sleep.

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. 

2. Supports Your Weight-Loss Goals

Digesting and absorbing the protein requires greater energy than digesting other macronutrients. Thus, drinking a protein shake can help people burn more calories as they sleep.(5) Drinking a protein shake before going to bed also makes people feel fuller and is often a good substitute for the usual unhealthy late-night cravings (chips, ice cream, etc.). This prevents them from giving in to any late-night cravings they might have. The protein shake also makes them consume fewer calories during their dinner, which further enhances weight loss.

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 is best for weight loss and can be achieved by a combination of eating fewer calories and by burning calories through physical activity.

Also Read: When To Take Protein Powder?

3. Enhanced Athletic Performance

Lean muscle mass impacts the body’s energy levels quite significantly. Protein consumption right before bed promotes muscle strength and growth. It also helps improve the adaptive response of the skeletal muscles, which is indicative of the body’s increased endurance level for rigorous exercise and resistance training.(6)

Consuming healthy protein shakes before going to bed also helps increase muscle recovery and regeneration rate. This increases the body’s ability to perform longer workouts and enhances performance during training sessions. 

4. Enhances Sleep Quality

If you want to consume some extra protein before going to bed, you might be in for a restful sleep. The intake of protein prior to sleep may increase the availability of the amino acid L-tryptophan. This specific amino acid releases melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, and the happy hormone serotonin.

Both these hormones help transform the body from its stressful and tired state to a more refreshing and relaxed one. Foods that are a rich source of L-tryptophan help to increase the melatonin concentration and consequently the sleep-inducing abilities of the protein shake.(7)

Also Read: How To Use Protein Powder?

Types Of Protein Powder

Now that it is clear that having a protein shake before going to bed has its benefits, let’s look at some of the options. 


Whey is the most popular anytime protein powder preferred by athletes and bodybuilders. It is a water-soluble milk protein and contains all the amino acids required by the human body from food. It is safe to take everyday and absorbed quickly by the body. To make it easier to incorporate in your regimen, it comes in various flavours to help you chose the one you like.


Casein is another popular protein derived from milk and is a rich source of glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that helps improve muscle recovery speed after exercising. When you supplement with casein, the level of amino acids and the protein synthesis in your body peak within three to four hours. Because of casein’s slow digestion rate, it is usually recommended to take before going to bed.


If you are looking for a vegan option, soy protein can be your go to. It has recently gained popularity among lactose-intolerant people. The protein contains all the essential amino acids and is derived from plants.

Also Read: Protein For Athletes


Pea protein is the most popular choice among people seeking a 100% vegetarian source of protein. It is derived from yellow peas, legumes, and pulses and is a rich source of amino acids and fiber. It is a much-preferred alternative for soy- and dairy-based proteins. 


Egg protein powder is a great choice for people looking to lose weight. Derived from the dried egg whites, the protein is cholesterol-free and does not contain any fat. Its absorption rate is somewhere between whey and pea. 

Best Natural Sources of Protein

If you want to include a natural protein source in your regimen, you don’t have to go far. Here are some options: 

1. Egg And Avocado

Both egg and avocado are considered superfoods as they are rich sources of key nutrients, including protein. A hard-boiled egg and avocado bowl combines hard boiled eggs with creamy avocado for a super healthy and quick low-carb meal that’s loaded with protein, healthy fat, and fiber. 

2. Milk And Banana

A combination of milk and banana is another great source of protein and various other nutrients. Both these food items make for a healthy and filling evening meal or late-night snack. 

3. Greek Yogurt and Chia Seeds

In addition to being a great source of protein, Greek yogurt is also known to improve gut health. It uses a handful of simple ingredients that are full of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, making this a treat that tastes good and is good for you too. 

4. Cottage Cheese And Almonds

Cottage cheese is a great source of both whey and casein proteins and hence offers the combined benefits of both. Almonds contain melatonin, a hormone which helps you to sleep more soundly. Eating a handful of these as an evening snack won’t weigh you down and will leave you full enough to satisfy your appetite.

A serving of cottage cheese offers nutrients, calcium, and protein. Consuming one cup of low-fat cottage cheese and an ounce of almonds before going to bed provides you with the protein boost to restore and repair your body through the night.

Also Read: What Happens When You Take Protein Shakes Without

The Bottom Line

To conclude, not only does a protein shake make for a healthy late-night snack, but its benefits are augmented when consumed before going to bed.  

Improved muscle recovery, appetite control, enhanced strength, and muscle preservation are some of the benefits of late-night protein shake intake.  

However, it's crucial to choose the right type of protein, consume an appropriate amount, and pay attention to individual tolerance to avoid potential sleep disruption.


  1. Jäger, R., Kerksick, C. M., Campbell, B. I., Cribb, P. J., Wells, S. D., Skwiat, T. M., … Antonio, J. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8.
  2. Wu G. Dietary protein intake and human health. Food Funct. 2016 Mar;7(3):1251-65. doi: 10.1039/c5fo01530h. PMID: 26797090.
  3. 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 Mar 6;6:17. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00017. PMID: 30895177; PMCID: PMC6415027.
  4. Res PT, Groen B, Pennings B, Beelen M, Wallis GA, Gijsen AP, Senden JM, VAN Loon LJ. Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Aug;44(8):1560-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824cc363. PMID: 22330017.
  5. Pesta, D.H., Samuel, V.T. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutr Metab (Lond) 11, 53 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-11-53.
  6. Tim Snijders, Peter T Res, Joey SJ Smeets, Stephan van Vliet, Janneau van Kranenburg, Kamiel Maase, Arie K Kies, Lex B Verdijk, Luc JC van Loon, Protein Ingestion before Sleep Increases Muscle Mass and Strength Gains during Prolonged Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Healthy Young MenNitrogen1, 2, 3, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 145, Issue 6,2015, Pages 1178-1184, ISSN 0022-3166, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.114.208371
  7. Amnon Brzezinski, Mark G. Vangel, Richard J. Wurtman, Gillian Norrie, Irina Zhdanova, Abraham Ben-Shushan, Ian Ford, Effects of exogenous melatonin on sleep: a meta-analysis, Sleep Medicine Reviews, Volume 9, Issue 1, 2005, Pages 41-50, ISSN 1087-0792, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2004.06.004.
  8. Hao Y, Li X, Zhu Z, Cao ZB. Pre-sleep Protein Supplementation Affects Energy Metabolism and Appetite in Sedentary Healthy Adults. Front Nutr. 2022 Apr 28;9:873236. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.873236. PMID: 35571934; PMCID: PMC9105224.
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