eat well sleep well

Nutrition for Better Sleep

By Danny Webber
Danny Webber is a SENr registered practitioner, an ISAK certified Anthropometrist and a UK Anti-Doping accredited adviser.
| Updated on July 26, 2023

 Nutrition to Promote Sleep Quality – 2 more sleeps!!

Only 2 sleeps until Christmas, so make the most of them as Christmas can be a busy and emotional day, especially if you have children waking you up at silly o’clock in the morning!

Side Effects of Sleep Problems

sleep Sleep is vital for health, hence why we prioritise a 3rd of the day for it! Getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night can lead to poor health and performance by:
Energy-metabolism Energy metabolism
Brain-function-mood Brain function and mood
arrow Immune function
recovery Recovery
risk-of-injury Risk of injury
appetite Appetite
reliance on muscles Reliance on muscle glycogen for energy during exercise

Nutrition for Better Sleep

arrow Avoid caffeine late at night
arrow Eat more protein – the source of amino acids (tryptophan) which convert to melatonin; a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle
arrow Eat a carbohydrate rich dinner – promotes tryptophan levels for melatonin production
arrow Avoid artificial light – blue light emitted from phones, tablets, TVs etc disturb sleep by reducing melatonin levels.
arrow Be hydrated, but don’t drink too much – Alcohol disturbs sleep and you’re likely to enjoy a drink, so drinking water alongside it can keep you hydrated. Try not to drink too much late at night though as this means you’ll be up during night!

Take Home Messages for Better Sleep

– Aim for 8 hours sleep per night
– Afternoon napping contributes to total sleep quality
– Eat quality proteins and carbohydrates for dinner
– A cheeky tipple can help you drift off but avoid excessive alcohol & caffeine intake as this can disturb sleep quality and duration.


Does warm milk help you sleep?

Milk is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is a pre-cursor of the hormone melatonin which is linked to improving sleep quality. Heating the milk may have therapeutic benefits to help you feel comfortable and fall asleep easier.

What fruit is good for sleep?

Research has shown that having two kiwi fruits one hour before bed can improve sleep. Montmorency cherries contain meltonin and may therefore promote sleep quality. Bananas are a source of magnesium and the amino acid tryptophan, both of which are linked to improved sleep.

Is it OK to eat banana at night?

Yes! Bananas are a source of magnesium and the amino acid tryptophan, both of which are linked to improved sleep.

What nutrient deficiencies can affect sleep?

Low levels of vitamin D, folate, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B12 and melatonin are all linked to poor sleep quality.

Can sugar keep you awake at night?

Consuming too much sugar in the evening is not directly linked to disturbed sleep, however this may well cause a significant drop in blood sugar levels when you wake up, making it much harder to rise.

What is a good sleep quality?

7-9 hours of undisturbed sleep at a regular daily sleep-wake cycle will help your body to recover and feel fresh when you wake up. This should be the target every night to maximize your energy levels.

What happens if you have caffeine before bed?

Caffeine acts as an antagonist to adenosine, which promotes alertness and can stay in the system for up to 10 hours. Caffeine should be avoided later in the day to prevent disturbing sleep.

How does sleep affect injury?

Athletes who regularly sleep for less than 8 hours per night have a 1.7 times greater risk of getting injured than those who sleep >8 hours.

How does sleep affect illness?

Athletes who sleep for less than 5 hours per night have a 4.5 times greater risk of getting a cold than those who sleep 7 hours or more.

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