Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by theworldofsleepstaff
Because of the many health benefits they offer, dietary supplements are now becoming popular and increasingly used by virtually everyone.
One such supplement is creatine.
Creatine is widely used in a lot of bodybuilding supplements because of its proposed ability to increase muscle mass, initiate quick recovery after exercise, and improve strength.
It’s mostly used during or before exercise to enhance performance. However, there have been some schools of thoughts or theories on whether taking creatine before bed is a smart choice. And we’re guessing that’s why you have stumbled across our little corner of the internet.
If you’ve been wondering whether or not there are benefits or negative effects to taking creatine before bed, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this in-depth article, we will discuss what to expect when you take creatine before bed as well as the health benefits and side effects. This is information you definitely need to know if you’re thinking of incorporating creatine supplementation into your evening routine.
Note: You must always consult your doctor before including a new supplement into your daily routine as only your doctor can explain any pros or cons that are specific to you. Some supplements may interfere with medications too.
But First, What Exactly is Creatine?
Simply put, creatine is an organic non-proteinous compound typically found in skeletal muscle cells.
Little amount, about 5% of the total amount of creatine in the body is found in the testes, blood, brain, and other body tissues.
Rather, as an amino acid derivative, creatine is produced in the liver and kidney and its main function is to be an energy buffer for the brain and body.
Additionally, during exercise, energy in the form of ATP or ADP gets depleted quickly, and creatine increases and improves the body’s ability to produce ATP, thus helping to supply more energy. Which is exactly why it’s widely used in the bodybuilding community.
There are many other functions of creatine, and we will consider them later in the course of this article.
Taking Creatine Before Bed: What to Expect
Creatine is considered one of the elixirs of the gods when it comes to bodybuilding supplements, and just like every other supplement, there is a recommended dosage of how to take creatine to achieve maximum effect.
Some recommendations even specify that doses should be taken throughout the day, including at night-time.
However, the most common and agreed-upon theory is that for maximum effect, creatine should be taken before and after exercising.
Taking creatine before bed isn’t necessarily wrong or harmful. However, before you decide to include it in your dinner plans, it is important to consider your current creatine intake phase.
For example, the creatine loading phase is a phase where you take high amounts of creatine for a few days, then gradually reduce the amount.
This is usually done to increase the creatine level in the muscles and it’s taken during the start of your creatine supplement regimen. Experts recommend around 20 grams daily for this phase. These 20 grams can be taken at different times of the day.
Then there’s the maintenance dose. This regimen is taken after the loading phase. It is recommended that a lower dose than the loading phase be taken; around 4-5 grams per day.
Now that you know about the different phases and how much intake of creatine is expected during these phases, we can go ahead to discuss the effects you might expect when you take creatine before bed.
Taking Creatine Before Bed: The Effects to Expect
When taken before bed, creatine might cause different effects based on different factors. However, here are some effects you can expect.
1. Thankfully, Creatine Doesn’t Have Stimulant Properties That Cause Insomnia
Unlike the primary ingredients in many bodybuilding supplements, creatine itself isn’t a stimulant. And as we are all aware, stimulants don’t promote relaxation and sleep! That’s why you might want to steer away from that cup of coffee before bed.
However, since creatine is not a stimulant, you can rest assured that taking creatine before bed won’t cause some of the unfavorable side effects of stimulants, like lack of sleep.
2. Creatine Actually Reduces the Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation
According to a research report from the National Library of Medicine, a decrease in creatine levels in the brain worsens the effects of sleep deprivation.
Thus, taking creatine supplements might help to reduce the effects of sleep deprivation.
According to the study, after the subjects were deprived of sleep for 24 hours, taking creatine supplements had a positive effect on their mood state by lessening the effects of sleep deprivation, and reducing stress caused as a result of sleep deprivation.
This suggests that creatine might be effective in keeping stress levels at bay and promoting sleep.
3. When Taken With Carbohydrates Like Glucose or Maltodextrin, Creatine Increases Insulin Levels
Another angle you might want to consider regarding the effects of creatine before bed is that when you take creatine together with some food that is rich in sugar, your insulin levels will spike.
An increase in insulin levels will cause various symptoms like hyperactivity or restlessness that can hinder a good night’s sleep.
So, to maximally enjoy the possible benefits of taking creatine before bed to improve sleep quality, it would be best if it is not taken with high-carb meals.
4. Creatine Reduces the Need For Sleep
Another study carried out on creatine showed that creatine helps to decrease total sleep time and homeostatic sleep pressure. Although this study is yet to be carried out on humans, results show that upon further study, creatine might be effective in the treatment of sleep-related disorders.
This is because creatine increases the amount of energy in the brain, prompting faster and more effective brain restoration which will, in turn, lead to a reduction in the amount of time needed to get a night of restorative sleep.
When Is The Best Time To Take Creatine?
While there is no conclusive evidence on the exact effects one should expect after taking creatine before bed, several studies show that the best time to take creatine would be some minutes before and after exercise. Doing so then could lead to more efficient and effective workout sessions.
Taking creatine at least 30 minutes before exercise, to foster its absorption will help the body in providing more strength after the body’s reserves have been used up.
However, the more important part is to be consistent with the dose and intake regimen.
Health Benefits Of Creatine
While creatine is popularly known and used for its athletic performance-boosting abilities, it also has other various health benefits. We will consider some of those below:
1. Creatine May Help to Prevent Some Deficiency-Related Diseases
Creatine is a natural and important compound in the human body. It is needed for certain body processes and functions. Without it, some deficiency-related disorders like Parkinson’s disease, muscle atrophy, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and so on might set in.
2. Creatine Fights Fatigue and Tiredness
We mentioned earlier that creatine can help to reduce the negative effects caused by sleep deprivation.
That study also showed that creatine reduced the fatigue level of the test subjects who had been sleep deprived for 24 hours.
Creatine is not only limited to fighting fatigue for sleep-deprived individuals, it can also reduce fatigue and tiredness levels especially when exercising in high heat.
Creatine does this by increasing the production of ATP, also known as the energy currency level of the cell, and by increasing the dopamine levels in the body.
3. Improves Athletic Performance
This is perhaps the most commonly known and used attribute of creatine.
There is enough evidence to prove that taking creatine supplements before and after exercise may increase athletic performance. It does this by increasing muscle strength, as well as reducing the time needed for recovery strength during high-intensity activities.
4. Reduces Dehydration
As we mentioned earlier, creatine is a compound that has an affinity for water. Thus, it can reduce the rate at which one gets dehydrated during exercising.
Dehydration during exercise can lead to cramping, as well as muscle stiffness and soreness. Creatine may help prevent these.
5. Improves Brain Health in Older Adults
Creatine is involved in the production of various compounds needed for optimal brain health.
For instance, creatine plays a vital role in the production of dopamine and phosphocreatine – two important compounds for brain function.
Furthermore, creatine might help to improve cognition and memory function, especially in older adults.
6. May Help With Neurological Disorders
Reduction in the level of phosphocreatine in the body is linked to several neurological diseases.
Creatine helps in the production of phosphocreatine, so regular intake of the recommended dose of creatine supplements may help to reduce the risk of developing these diseases.
7. Incredibly Helpful For Vegetarians
Rich and natural sources of creatine are meals like meat and fish.
Thus, most vegetarians will likely have low levels of creatine. Taking creatine supplements will help boost their creatine levels.
8. May Help to Fight Depression
A South Korean study comprising 52 women with depression reported an improvement in symptoms just 2 weeks after using creatine supplements.
According to the study, creatine treatment proves promising in treating depression in females.
9. Reduces Skin Aging
Some reports opined that creams that contain creatine as an ingredient are effective in reducing skin sagging and wrinkling in men.
10. May Fight Against Diabetes
Although further study is still needed to confirm the effectiveness of creatine in fighting diseases. There are some studies that prove that creatine may help in reducing blood sugar levels and the risk of diabetes.
Side Effects of Creatine
The chemical structure of creatine makes it such that it can easily absorb water or cause the body to absorb water.
To prevent bloating, it is recommended that you take creatine before working out so that you’ll be able to sweat out and burn out the fluids.
Additionally, taking a lower dose might help reduce bloating.
2. Kidney Damage
This is especially caused when creatine is taken with NSAIDs. Taking creatine in high doses has the potential to damage your kidney, this potential increases when you take it alongside drugs like NSAIDs that can also affect the kidney.
3. Gastrointestinal Upset
This is usually experienced when creatine is taken during the loading phase. Reducing the amount from 20g to 10g may help alleviate this symptom.
4. Other Side Effects Include:
- Digestive discomforts
- Upset stomach
- Difficulty in breathing
Taking NSAIDs or stimulants with creatine supplements can increase these symptoms.
Creating Before Bed: Our Final Thoughts
According to the CRN Consumer on Dietary Supplements, 77% of adults in America confirm that they use dietary supplements.
There are now a plethora of dietary supplements available in the market today. When you consider the stress that many people in the 21st century are going through on a daily basis, it is no wonder why many people are resorting to adding health supplements to their body care regimen.
As we grow older, the body’s ability to produce various compounds and nutrients that our body needs diminishes, hence the more reason to invest in dietary supplements.
Dietary supplements are important because they support the body in producing these important nutrients and vitamins.
However, a lot of research is still required to fully ascertain the effectiveness of these supplements for the wide range of disorders they’ve been claimed to work for.
Creatine has enough evidence to back up its primary uses, further research is however still needed to fully confirm some of the other claims. As such, before creatine is used for any health issue, medical advice must be sought.