You may have heard it before - eating before bed will cause all the food material to turn into fat overnight! This is a myth that has persisted over the years, along with another you may be familiar with; if I eat before bed, won't this stop me from getting a good night's sleep as my body is working away trying to digest all the fuel I've loaded it with? Of course, we shouldn't go overboard, but eating a nice, full meal prior to bed can actually be extremely beneficial to piling on muscle.
Think about it like this - sleep is a catabolic state.
What this means is, while asleep, our body is still using energy to fuel our autonomous functions - those that are keeping us alive! On average, our body will burn approximately 47 calories per hour we spend asleep (so if we sleep for 8 hours, approximately 8 x 47 = 376 calories are burnt), and if we don't supply our body with adequate food beforehand, some of our precious muscle will be burnt away by the body as an energy source! If we're on a bulk - a caloric surplus - this 8 hour fast is something we need to be taking into account when calculating our daily intake.
Eating a meal before bed supplies the body with extra nutrients and negates the catabolic effect, and can even turn sleep into an anabolic time period! In the second hour of sleep, a huge amount of natural human growth hormones are released.
This is an ideal time for our body to be using supplies of protein in order for it to build muscle.
Before bed, it would be wise to ingest a slow acting protein such as Casein, so that the body has a good supply over the 8 (or whatever) hour time period it's at rest.
A tiny bit of fat can also be helpful, as fat slows down the process of protein synthesis.
In addition, don't be afraid to have a small amount of slow-digesting carbs before heading off to sleep - just avoid fast acting carbs - sugar at this time is a no-no! Sleep is a catabolic state, and when building muscle, should be prepared for adequately.
Keep in mind that our bodies do still burn calories at night, and that this should be considered when aiming to intake a surplus of calories.
Supplying our body with the correct nutrients before we sleep is a fantastic idea to help turn sleep into a more anabolic state, and can only assist in the maintenance and building of muscle!