You’ve heard that creatine is a great supplement for building lean muscle mass and strength, but you’re wondering if you can take it before bed and whether it will affect your sleep if you do.
- You can take creatine before bed without impacting your sleep.
- Creatine is usually taken with water or other liquids that might require you to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. If this worries you, mix your creatine with as little water as possible.
- If you consume creatine as part of a “stack,” check the other ingredients to ensure it won’t impact your sleep. For example, pre-workouts stacked with creatine will usually contain caffeine, too.
What Is Creatine & How Does It Work?
Creatine is one of the most popular and widely researched natural supplements. It is actually considered the most effective nutritional supplement for increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass by the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Creatine is used in energy production in the body primarily during short-duration, high-intensity exercises, such as sprints or lifting a one-rep max weight (1RM).
It’s produced naturally within our own bodies at a rate of about 1g per day, and an additional 1g per day comes from eating creatine-rich food sources such as roast beef and salmon.
Increasing the amount of creatine in the body through supplementation allows it to replenish the energy used during exercise more quickly.
This improves performance not only in sprints and heavy lifts but also in aerobic exercise, or exercise that elevates your heart rate for a prolonged period of time.
- Related: How Long For Creatine To Work?
Does Creatine Affect Your Sleep?
No, creatine does not affect your sleep unless taking it with water or other liquid before bedtime means you must get up to use the bathroom at night.
So far, one of the only studies done directly on creatine and sleep has been done on rats (not humans).
This study showed a lower sleep need and a change in the sleep quality of the rats, but this was after six hours of sleep deprivation.
The study concluded that supplementing with creatine monohydrate could potentially be helpful in the treatment of sleep-related disorders.
However, if you work out late in the day and take creatine with a pre-workout supplement that contains caffeine, you may have trouble falling asleep at night. But this is more due to the caffeine than the creatine, as discussed below.
- Related: Best Type of Creatine.
4 Reasons Why You Can Take Creatine Before Bed
Creatine is fine to take before bed because of the following:
- It’s not a stimulant. Unlike other performance-boosting supplements like caffeine, creatine is not a stimulant. This means it will not increase activity in the central nervous system and make you feel more alert, awake, or energized.
- It can lessen the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Anyone who’s pulled an all-nighter to study for an exam or tried to go to work after spending the night with a crying infant will know that sleep deprivation usually impairs tasks requiring mental focus and concentration, and worsens your mood.
This study showed that creatine supplementation had a positive effect on reaction time, balance, and mood after 24 hours of sleep deprivation.
- It may reduce the amount of sleep needed after sleep deprivation. In the study I discussed above on the effects of creatine on sleep in rats, researchers found that creatine supplementation might reduce the amount of sleep that we need after a period of sleep deprivation or even the amount of sleep needed in general.
- Taking it with milk may promote sleep. Milk has been shown to help people with falling asleep, and there are several benefits to mixing creatine with milk, such as boosting your protein intake and helping you get more calcium.
Related: Creatine Makes Me Tired
How To Take Creatine Before Bed: Dosing Instructions
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Creatine supplementation often starts with an initial “loading” phase where 20g is taken daily (usually split into 4-5 doses of 4-5g each) for 5-7 days, and then 2-10g per day (usually 3-5g) thereafter.
Each serving of 5g should be mixed with at least 1 cup (8oz) of water or milk. Creatine tends to dissolve more readily in warm liquid, so warm water or milk is recommended, especially if you find a glass of warm milk soothing before bed.
If 1 cup of liquid before bed means you will be more likely to wake up to go to the bathroom, I recommend taking the supplement in capsule form. You will likely need less water to swallow the capsules than to dissolve 3-5g of powder.
Another option is to get a chewable creatine supplement like Animal Creatine Chews Tablets.
I do NOT recommend dry-scooping creatine to avoid water intake before bed. Dry scooping creatine is unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst due to the risk of choking.
Regardless of what format of creatine supplements you take (powder, capsule, or chewable), creatine draws more water into the cells, meaning there is less water in the gut to assist with digestion.
This can be why some people experience stomach cramps or other digestive distress when taking creatine.
To reduce the risk of this discomfort, it’s essential to ensure that you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially when you are supplementing with creatine.
- Related: Should Beginners Take Creatine?
Choosing A Creatine Supplement To Take Before Bed
Creatine monohydrate is the most clinically effective and extensively studied type of creatine. To ensure supplement safety, purity, and quality, we recommend looking for a creatine monohydrate supplement that is third-party certified.
If you’ll be taking creatine before bed, it’s also important to be sure that your supplement does not contain caffeine or other stimulant ingredients. Read the label carefully.
Creatine Timing: Is Before Bed The Best Option?
The best timing for creatine supplementation depends on an individual’s personal preferences and experience.
Creatine before bed can be a good idea if this coincides with the post-workout window since it will help your body replenish what it lost during intense exercise.
This can also be a good time of day to take creatine if it is easier for you to remember taking it during your bedtime routine.
With that said, it is optimal to take creatine pre-workout to increase the creatine levels in the body in time for exercise, allowing you to maintain higher training intensity and workout quality.
This will allow you to push harder and get more out of your workout, maximizing your results.
Learn More How To Take Creatine
- This Is Why Your Creatine Is Not Dissolving
- Do You Need to Cycle Creatine?
- Creatine Every Other Day
- Can You Take Creatine Forever?
- If You Missed a Day of Creatine Do These 3 Things
- Creatine On An Empty Stomach
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Guest, N.S., VanDusseldorp, T.A., Nelson, M.T. et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 18, 1 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-020-00383-4
McMorris T, Harris RC, Swain J, Corbett J, Collard K, Dyson RJ, Dye L, Hodgson C, Draper N. Effect of creatine supplementation and sleep deprivation, with mild exercise, on cognitive and psychomotor performance, mood state, and plasma concentrations of catecholamines and cortisol. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Mar;185(1):93-103. doi: 10.1007/s00213-005-0269-z. Epub 2006 Jan 17. PMID: 16416332.
Kitano, N., Tsunoda, K., Tsuji, T. et al. Association between difficulty initiating sleep in older adults and the combination of leisure-time physical activity and consumption of milk and milk products: a cross-sectional study. BMC Geriatr 14, 118 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-14-118
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About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.
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