Creatine has long been lauded by workout fans for its ability to boost energy, increase strength, and enhance workout results.
On the whole, this is a safe option for athletes - but knowing how to use it and when is the best time can make a serious difference not only to your results but to your overall health.
So, is it bad to take creatine before bed? We took a closer look at the answer to this and all you need to know to make the most of creatine supplements.
Can You Take Creatine At Night Before Bed?
We will start by taking a closer look at the facts around the substance, which will help ensure that you have a full understanding of consuming creatine supplements and the best options for optimum results.
Creatine is an amino acid found naturally in the brain and muscle cells.
This offers several advantages to athletes and those working out, including boosted muscle mass, faster injury, and muscle recovery.
When weight training, the main energy source used by the muscles is adenosine triphosphate - a naturally occurring substance that gives muscles the energy they need.
This is quickly used up during an intense workout, however, because it can help provide the extra energy that the muscles need to succeed.
It is absorbed by the muscles and converted into creatine phosphate, which acts as the backup energy your body needs.
So, should you take creatine at night before you head off to sleep? The answer is yes; this is completely fine.
There is no conclusive evidence that taking creatine supplements at night will have any impact on your sleep quality or impact your central nervous system, provided you stick to the recommended dosage.
Unlike other supplements, creatine products do not contain caffeine, and there are even some studies that suggest taking creatine before bed can actually help you fall asleep more easily.
This means you can plan your creatine supplementation without any concerns that your sleep - another essential in muscle growth and recovery - will suffer any adverse effect.
The Potential Benefits Of Taking Creatine Before Bed
As we mentioned, some experts state that deciding to drink creatine before bed can offer a range of benefits and advantages - but just how can creatine affect your body when taken at night?
We took a closer look.
According to one study, taking a creatine supplement before you head off to bed can actually boost your sleep quality and reduce sleeplessness.
This improves the overall quality of your sleep and this, in turn, boosts cognitive function, memory, and mood.
Improves Performance In Sleep Deprived Athletes
We all know that sleep deprivation is extremely bad for our health and is often at the root of many health problems, including irritability, poor memory or "brain fog," an inability to focus and concentrate, mood swings, and longer-term health issues.
For athletes and those invested in fitness, sleep deprivation can also cause a drop in performance; you may find that you cannot lift as heavy, build muscle as effectively, run as fast, or swim as effectively.
According to one study, athletes who adjusted their creatine timing to a period close to bed saw the same improvement in their overall performance as those using caffeine-based supplements, allowing them to benefit from the same muscle-building benefits, as well as reducing sleep-related disorders.
Improved Sexual Performance
In addition to improved workout performance, there is some evidence that creatine can also boost testosterone levels in men.
It has been suggested that this can go some way toward boosting and enhancing sexual performance.
How To Take Creatine Before Bed: Dosing Instructions
Now that we have considered some of the advantages of taking creatine before bed, it is essential to understand the best ways to take and enjoy your supplement.
How To Choose A Creatine Supplement To Take Before Bed
One of the key considerations when taking creatine is how to choose the perfect supplement.
As a rule, most experts recommend micronized creatine monohydrate powder; this is considered to be the safest and most effective version of the supplement. Other options include:
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Creatine ethyl ester is another popular type of creatine.
Some fans claim that this absorbs into the body more easily and readily than creatine monohydrate and boosts the growth of new muscle tissue.
This is not verified scientifically, however, and many experts advise against the ethyl ester form of creatine.
Creatine hydrochloride has seen an increase in popularity in recent years, and this is largely due to the fact that it dissolves very well in water - this form of creatine is thought to be 38 times more soluble than creatine monohydrate, and this means that lower doses may be used, reducing the side effects and risks.
Related Article - Creatine HCL Vs Monohydrate (Which One Is Best For You?)
Some attempts have been made to reduce the side effects of creatine by adding an alkaline powder to create a buffered form, but this is still in the early stages, and the advantages have yet to be proven.
It is worth noting that powdered creatine is the most common form of the supplement, it is also available in liquid form, and these are pre-dissolved versions of the powdered form.
This makes it easier to add to your morning smoothie or fruit juice as part of your daily diet, offering an easy way to take creatine daily to enjoy more energy with minimal effort.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate
Another option is a creatine supplement that has the magnesium molecule added, and this is as effective as creatine monohydrate, especially in seeing post-workout results.
When choosing the best supplement for your needs, it is important to consider several elements, including:
Your Workout Goals
Your workout goals will form a key element of your choice of supplement - make sure you clearly understand what you want to achieve from your workout before you get started; are you keen to build lean muscle mass or lose weight?
Build strength, or develop stamina? Your intentions will inform your decisions and the supplements you choose.
Research suggests that the best results from creatine come from strength training, and those who lift weights can really see the scientifically proven benefits of this gold-standard supplement as part of a balanced sports nutrition program.
Check The Ingredients Label
You should consume creatine supplements that are free from fillers, additives, and artificial ingredients - try and choose a product made from natural ingredients wherever possible.
Knowing how much creatine to take is also important, and proper dosage can be confusing - if you are new to creatine supplementation, experts suggest an initial loading phase of 20-25g a day for four to seven days.
This loading phase will boost natural muscle stores of creatine and improve exercise performance when weight training and working out.
Following this loading phase, switch to a maintenance dosage of 3-5g per day in the following days - this will help you to maintain your levels.
Learn More - How Much Creatine Should I Take? | Garage Gym Pro
Check For Tested Products
Always ensure that the supplements you choose when you take creatine have been subject to strict third-party testing and that they are fully certified by a legitimate authority.
This will ensure that they are safe and will protect your overall health and well-being.
Creatine Parings And Their Timings
In many cases, creatine is taken alongside other supplements - but it is crucial to ensure that the timing of these is carefully considered. The best pairings include:
Protein powder can help promote muscle growth, and whey powder, in particular, contains high levels of an amino acid called leucine which is known for building muscle.
This is usually the common ingredient in a protein shake, allowing you to mix creatine with whey protein for a post-workout boost that your muscles will be grateful for, or a pre-workout burst of energy.
Related Article - Can You Mix Creatine With Protein Powder? (Expert Advice)
Branch Chain Amino Acids
A BCAA powder is home to three amino acids that boost recovery and aid protein synthesis. It makes sense that they can be stacked alongside creatine to give skeletal muscles extra energy.
Related Article - BCAAs Vs Creatine (Should You Take Both For Muscle Growth?)
Glutamine is another type of amino acid that can be paired with creatine. It plays a key role in recovery and reduces muscle soreness after a workout.
Related Article - Creatine Vs Glutamine (Major Differences You Should Know)
Beta-Alanine is another amino acid that plays a key role in reducing muscle fatigue during a workout and the build-up of lactic acid.
For best results, it should be taken with creatine, and it should be split into three or four doses per day - make sure that you build this up slowly to allow your body a chance to get used to the supplement.
Casein protein is another great addition; take this with complex carbs and creatine to boost and enhance your muscles while you sleep - this helps them absorb protein, as well as help you get the sleep needed for recovery and growth.
For faster results, combine your supplement with fast-acting carbohydrates, such as maltodextrin or dextrose - these cause insulin levels to spike, and taken with creatine helps make it easier and faster for the muscles to absorb.
Creatine Before Bed FAQs
Taking creatine before bed is not known to have any negative consequences or ill effects, and some experts claim that there are actually a number of benefits to this option. As creatine does not contain caffeine, there is no reason that it should cause disrupted sleep or any significant loss of sleep quality.
Though creatine is not known to cause strong, vivid dreams, this has been reported as a common side effect for some users, who have reported nightmares and broken sleep. If you suffer from unpleasant dreams after taking creatine, stop immediately.
Some of the most common side effects of creatine intake can include bloatedness, nausea, and an upset stomach. Some users have reported muscle aches, strains, and pains, as well as dizziness and high blood pressure. It is also important to note that every individual will react differently to creatine use and that we all have varying creatine levels produced naturally in the body. Most side effects should subside fairly quickly; if you suffer long-term effects, seek your doctor.
Recommendation – Should You Take Creatine Before Bed?
There is no real negative impact to taking creatine before bed, and there may even be some advantages.
For optimum results from your supplement, however, most experts recommend taking the supplement post-workout to rebuild muscle fibers and reduce muscle breakdown, or as a pre-workout for that much-needed energy boost - this will help you to see the best results.