Attention, midnight munchers! Research from Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that consuming a protein-rich snack 30 minutes pre-shut-eye boosted muscle repair and growth 22 per cent more than snoozing on an empty stomach. “Exercise damages muscle tissue, and the amino acids found in protein help fix it,” says study co-author Luc van Loon, Ph.D. “The rebuilding process usually slows down when you sleep because fewer amino acids are available, but ingesting the nutrient counteracts this,” adds fellow study author Naomi Cermak, Ph.D. If you’ve worked out hard, skip the milk and cookies and end your evening with a high-protein (aim for 20g) drink or bar.
*This article was written by Mallory Creveling and first appeared in SHAPE US Magazine December 2012.