Prioritizing sleep is important, but do you know why?
Sleep can have a huge impact on various physiological and psychological aspects of your body and mind. This includes your brain, your mood, your immune system, your metabolism, and your muscles.
Good sleep can do wonders for you.
When you’re able to get adequate sleep, your brain gets enough time to recover. This can help improve your mood by lessening your feelings of anxiety and stress. Additionally, you will have an increased ability for learning and retaining memories.
Adequate sleep also helps your body recover. For instance, your blood will actually show reduced markers of inflammation including High-sensitivity C-reactive protein or hsCRP. Better sleep helps your blood sugar levels stabilize and can improve your immune functioning  .
What happens if you don’t get enough sleep?
Well, a lot. Your brain is affected greatly in that you can show worse cognition, for example a delayed reaction time. Additionally, memory consolidation is impaired as this process occurs during sleep, so learning and memory may also be impaired. Finally, you’ve probably felt more agitated and prone to snapping when you don’t get a good night’s rest– This is because your sleep can greatly impact your mood.
Not only do these consequences affect your brain, but they can also greatly harm your body. Without enough sleep, the growth and repair of cells is declined and your metabolism of glucose can actually become more erratic. In other words, you can have big blood sugar swings that can lead to more snacking and overall a higher caloric intake. This can then lead to becoming overweight or obsese. Furthermore, your immune system can be compromised which can lead to more infections. Research also shows that those who don’t sleep enough show an increased perception of pain  .
Now that we know why sleep is so important, let’s discuss 5 tips that can help you achieve better sleep.
- Consume high protein rich foods within 4 hours before bed!  Studies show that consuming 20g of whey protein or casein protein 1 hour before bed actually helped to increase total sleep time by 54 minutes! 
- Consume high glycemic index foods within 4 hours before bed!  Studies show that eating a high glycemic index dinner and evening snack 4 hours before bed helped individuals sleep by 26.5 minutes!  Additionally, those who consume diets with an adequate carbohydrate amount actually show shorter sleep latency. In other words, they were able to fall asleep faster.
- Include tryptophan rich foods in your diet! Studies have shown that consuming 1g of tryptophan improves both sleep quality and latency. Some examples of what these foods might include are 300g of turkey meat or 200g of pumpkin seeds.
- Drink tart cherry juice! Tart cherry juice has been commonly cited as an effective supplement to help you sleep better! What’s the proper protocol? Drink 240mL of tart cherry juice within 1 to 2 hours before bed. This has been shown to increase total sleep time by 29.3 minutes! 
- Stick to your sleep schedule! Waking up at the same time, each and every day, appears to have the best effect on our sleep quality  . For instance, if you wake up at 7AM every Monday through Friday, do NOT sleep in for hours on the weekend. Instead, try to get up by 7:30AM on Saturday and Sunday. Keeping a consistent schedule will help you maintain your circadian clock.
Our practitioners advocate for wholistic healthy lifestyles– This means that they are experts in nutrition and emphasize habits that support your healthy food choices. Sleep is just one of these habits! If you need support from a degreed and experienced practitioner, check out the services that we offer by clicking HERE.
- Morrow, K., & Raymond, J. L. (2016). Krause’s Food & the Nutrition Care Process (Krause’s Food & Nutrition Therapy) (14th ed.). Saunders.
- Halson S. L. (2014). Sleep in elite athletes and nutritional interventions to enhance sleep. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 44 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S13–S23. https://doi-org.logan.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s40279-014-0147-0
- Walsh NP, Halson SL, Sargent C, et al. Sleep and the athlete: narrative review and 2021 expert consensus recommendations. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 03 November 2020. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2020-102025
- Gratwicke, M., Miles, K. H., Pyne, D. B., Pumpa, K. L., & Clark, B. (2021). Nutritional Interventions to Improve Sleep in Team-Sport Athletes: A Narrative Review. Nutrients, 13(5), 1586. https://doi-org.logan.idm.oclc.org/10.3390/nu13051586