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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.
So, can you take creatine before bed? Yes, you can take creatine before bed. Creatine is unlikely to affect your sleep unless you take it with an amount of water or other liquid that contains caffeine and requires you to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
In this article, I’ll discuss why it’s okay to take creatine before bed, and how and what kind of creatine to take before bed. To maximize your results, I’ll also share why I don’t think that taking creatine before bed is the best possible option in terms of timing.
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 more quickly replenish the energy used during exercise. 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 Article: How Long For Creatine To Work? (1-Week & 1-Month Results)
Does Creatine Affect Your Sleep?
No, creatine does not affect your sleep, unless taking it with water or other liquid before bedtime means that you need to 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 on 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 and not the creatine, as I’ll discuss below.
- Learn more about creatine in the article 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, slows reaction times, 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.
Some people find that creatine makes them more tired than usual, but this is more likely to occur if you supplement creatine incorrectly. Learn more in Creatine Makes Me Tired: Causes and How To Fix.
How To Take Creatine Before Bed: Dosing Instructions
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 that 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 Universal Nutrition Creatine Chews.
I do NOT recommend dry-scooping creatine as a way 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 supplement 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 very important to ensure that you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially when you are supplementing with creatine.
- Related Article: Should Beginners Take Creatine? Who SHOULD & Should NOT Use
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.
Thorne Creatine is a brand that is certified under NSF International’s Certified for Sport® program. You can see a full listing of creatine products certified by NSF here.
If you’ll be taking creatine before bed, it’s also important to be sure that your supplement does not contain caffeine or any other ingredients that are stimulants. Read the label carefully.
- Related Article: Whey Protein Before Bed: Should You Do It?
Creatine Timing: Is Before Bed The Best Option?
The best timing for creatine supplementation really 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.
Since the specifics related to your individual training, lifestyle, and goals all have a bearing on the best supplementation strategy for you as an individual, I recommend coming up with a personalized plan by speaking with a qualified nutrition coach or Registered Dietician.
Yes, you can take creatine before bed. This is unlikely to negatively impact sleep unless the liquid you take it with means that you need to get up to use the bathroom at night or if you take it with a drink that contains caffeine.
In fact, some early research suggests that creatine supplementation may actually even help with sleep.
Regardless of when you choose to take creatine, we recommend creatine monohydrate from a reputable supplement company. Ensure you are well-hydrated when taking creatine, and remember to disclose all supplements to your health care provider.
Learn More How To Take Creatine
- Can You Mix Creatine With Pre-Workout? (Yes, Here’s How To Do It)
- Can You Take Creatine Forever? (What The Science Says)
- Creatine Every Other Day: Should You Do It? Pros & Cons
- Does Creatine Break a Fast? Simple Creatine Guide for Fasting
- Pre-Workout At Night: How To Take Without Negative Effects
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.