5-star Fitness

5 Ways Sleep Impacts Nutrition

Written By Katie Di Lauro • 2 min read

We always talk about diet and exercise as being the most important aspects of health, but one important component needs just as much attention… sleep.

Sleep not only affects our energy levels but also our appetite, metabolism, stress response, hormones, activity level, and mood. At PFC we reference quality and quantity, this extends to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. The quality of sleep is important too.

Think back to a day or period of time when you were sleep-deprived. Did you eat more or crave ‘junk food’ and feel more impulsive?  Studies have shown that people who get too little sleep will consume more calories. Which makes sense since calories are energy, and energy is exactly what your body is desperately needing. However, are those extra calories you’re consuming in your over-tired state being used for physical activity, or are you too tired to exercise and just end up binge-watching your favorite show? This is the cycle you can fall into when you don’t get enough quality sleep.

Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep with the following tips:

  1. Plan your bedtime. If you need to wake up at a certain time, back up by 8 hours, then add additional time for your bedtime routine, and time to relax and fall asleep.  That is your bedtime, stick to it!
  2. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Many drinks and foods that you may not realize or have forgotten contain caffeine, such as chocolate, cocoa, coffee-flavored desserts, green tea, energy drinks, yerba mate, and decaf tea (still has caffeine in it – choose caffeine-free),
  3. Avoid heartburn. Foods that may trigger heartburn are: foods that are spicy, acidic, minty, contain caffeine, alcohol and, chocolate. Behaviors that may cause heartburn are laying down while or after eating and eating large meals.
  4. Eat a balanced meal. Blood sugar peaks and valleys may disrupt the quality of your sleep.
  5. Manage sodium intake, especially if you have high blood pressure. Eat fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats that are not overly processed or sweetened.
  6. Practice moderation or avoid alcohol. Although you may feel sleepy after a nightcap, alcohol affects the quality of sleep so much so, that it may leave you feeling tired the next day.

Nutrients that may assist sleep: 

  • Magnesium helps relax muscles and has a calming effect.
  • Calcium helps the production of tryptophan which, in turn, increases melatonin making you feel sleepy.
  • L-theanine & GABA. L-theanine boosts GABA, which reduces excitatory brain chemicals.
  • 5-HTP & Melatonin. 5-HTP produces serotonin, which is converted into melatonin. Melatonin plays an important role in initiating sleep.
  • Supplement recommendation: Insomnitol by Designs for Health

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