Updated: Oct 12
TL;DR: Taking creatine before bed doesn't seem to have any significant drawbacks or advantages. Though, there is an optimal time to take creatine.
Creatine is a great supplement for improving exercise performance, including strength, muscle growth, and endurance.
However, some people believe that taking creatine before bed could have adverse effects, such as weight gain or keeping them awake.
In reality, taking creatine before bed is perfectly fine, you will still reap the benefits, and because it's not a stimulant it will not keep you awake, in fact it may even help improve your sleep.
Although it's fine to supplement with creatine before bed, it's not the optimal time to take creatine.
In this article, I will explain if you should take creatine before bed and the optimal time to take it.
Table of Contents:
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in the cells of your body. It is present in higher abundance in muscle cells, accounting for 95% of the total, with the remaining 5% found in the brain, liver, and kidneys.
The amino acids glycine and arginine may also be used by the body to make creatine.
Creatine may also be taken in the diet, either as a supplement or through meals like meat. This supplement is popular among gym goers, bodybuilders, and other athletes.
If you take creatine, your phosphocreatine stores will increase. Phosphocreatine is a form of stored energy that helps your body produce ATP, which is your body's main energy source.
When your body has more ATP, your muscle performance improves. Many other processes occur when creatine is consumed, some of which may contribute to muscular development and strength.
Supplementing with creatine can provide multiple benefits, such as the following.
Enhanced strength and performance
Increased muscle mass
Improved brain health
Creatine has also been proven to enhance strength and workout performance substantially.
In fact, adding creatine to a resistance training regimen enhanced strength by about 8%, weightlifting performance by around 14%, and bench press one-rep max by up to 43%, according to one study. (6)
Creatine has been proven to help with both long-term and short-term muscle development. It has also been selected as the most helpful dietary supplement.
Creatine supplementation to a resistance training regimen enhanced muscle growth and leg strength substantially in a 14-week trial of older people. (7)
Creatine supplementation resulted in a 70% decrease in tiredness and a 50% reduction in dizziness in children with traumatic brain injury during a six-month trial. (8)
It may also help the elderly and those at risk of neurological disorders, according to human studies. (9)
Should You Take Creatine Before Bed?
As I mentioned earlier, it is perfectly fine to take creatine before bed. You will still gain the benefits of creatine supplementation such as improved strength, muscle growth, and endurance.
Now the myths are out of the way, is there any benefit to taking creatine before bed?
There isn't any research on this matter, I also don't have any theory behind why taking creatine before you go to bed would make any difference. Therefore, tasking creatine before bed is perfectly fine but not the optimal way to take it.
Optimal Time to Take Creatine
Fine-tuning an optimising the time you take creatine is not as important as getting a full daily dose (3-5 grams), meaning providing you consume that dosage, it doesn't matter what time you take it.
With that being said, studies have indicated that consuming creatine before and after a workout may enhance its effectiveness. (4)
Research suggests that taking creatine immediately post-workout is the most optimal time to take creatine. (5)
The most optimal time to take creatine is pre or post-workout, preferably immediately post-workout. Though, the difference is small, providing you reach your complete daily dosage of 3-5 grams, it's not a crucial factor.
Whatever time suits you in the day, whether that's when you wake up, at lunch, pre-workout, before bed, etc, is perfectly fine.
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This evidence based analysis on optimal creatine timing and taking creatine before bed features 9 references, listed below.
1. 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) (Clinical Trial) ✔
2. Dworak M, Kim T, Mccarley RW, Basheer R. Creatine supplementation reduces sleep need and homeostatic sleep pressure in rats. J Sleep Res. (2017, Jun) ✔
3. Kutz MR, Gunter MJ. Creatine monohydrate supplementation on body weight and percent body fat. J Strength Cond Res. (2003, Nov) (Clinical Trial) ✔
4. Cribb PJ, Hayes A. Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2006, Nov) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔
5. Antonio J, Ciccone V. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2013, Aug 6) ✔
6. Rawson ES, Volek JS. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. (2003, Nov) (Review) ✔
7. Brose A, Parise G, Tarnopolsky MA. Creatine supplementation enhances isometric strength and body composition improvements following strength exercise training in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. (2003, Jan) (Clinical Trial) ✔
8. Sakellaris G, Nasis G, Kotsiou M, Tamiolaki M, Charissis G, Evangeliou A. Prevention of traumatic headache, dizziness and fatigue with creatine administration. A pilot study. Acta Paediatr. (2008, Jan) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔
9. McMorris T, Mielcarz G, Harris RC, Swain JP, Howard A. Creatine supplementation and cognitive performance in elderly individuals. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. (2007, Sep) (Clinical Trial) ✔
✔ Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.
The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.