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Improving Sleep Quality Through Nutrition

Did you know that the quality of your sleep affects your weight loss process? Indeed, various hormones are secreted during certain phases of sleep, including leptin and ghrelin, the hormones responsible for hunger and satiety feelings, as well as growth hormone, which is responsible for the production of lean tissue (muscles), among other things. In addition, proper recovery following a good night’s sleep will enable you to attack your training sessions vigorously and effectively, thus promoting weight loss.

If you do not get much sleep, go to bed very late, or if your sleep is interrupted, reaching your weight loss objective may be harder.

Here are the golden rules to follow during supper to ensure a better sleep:

Avoid having a meal too high in protein

Large servings of meat and alternatives (the recommended serving is about the size of a deck of cards) are said to interfere with sleep for insomniacs, because they promote the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with motor activity and aggressiveness, among other things.

Avoid having a meal high in fats

In high quantities, lipids slow down the digestive process and increase body temperature, just as proteins do. Inversely, deep sleep is enhanced by a drop in body temperature.

Avoid caffeine six hours prior to bedtime

Everything containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, yerba mate, energy drinks, soft drinks, and chocolate should be avoided at night. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and disturbs the activity of two neurotransmitters that are essential to sleep induction, that is, melatonin and adenosine.

Reduce your alcohol consumption, or avoid it altogether

Although alcohol helps falling asleep, it hinders deep sleep. Indeed, alcohol is said to prevent the secretion of adrenalin (stress hormone), and disturb the activity of tryptophan and serotonin, two sleep regulating neurotransmitters.

Also, think about allowing yourself a moment of relaxation before going to bed!

By Marilyne Petitclerc

Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ, et al. Effects of normal meals rich in carbohydrates or proteins on plasma tryptophan and tyrosine ratios. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan;77(1):128-32.
Moller SE. Carbohydrate/protein selection in a single meal correlated with plasma tryptophan and tyrosine ratios to neutral amino acids in fasting individuals. Physiol Behav. 1986;38(2):175-83.

Marilyne Petitclerc

Holder of a degree in nutrition from Université Laval, Marilyne has worked as a nutritionist for Nautilus Plus since 2010. Passionate about healthy eating and sports nutrition, she also gives lectures and hosts cooking workshops. With her clients, Marilyne makes extensive use of the instinct diet approach and the Mediterranean diet model. Furthermore, she has attended classes on live nutrition at the Hippocrates Health Institute. Maryline ran the Quebec City Marathon des Deux Rives - Half Marathon in 2010 and 2012. She also took part in the Staircase Challenge, another event held in Quebec City in June 2012. Marilyne also plays in an Ultimate Frisbee league and trains regularly at the Nautilus Plus branch where she is employed.

Improving Sleep Quality Through Nutrition is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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