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Nutrition and Diet Tips for bed time for better Sleep and Enhance Recovery

Updated: Jan 18


Your diet can make you sleep better. Nutrition contains compounds which can make you feel alert or drowsy.


Sleep is the time your body repairs and builds muscle and makes new nerve connections in the brain. Quality sleep is essential to health and performance. There are nutritional changes you can make to sleep better; allowing you to recover better, train harder and perform better.


Kiwi and cherries contain melatonin which makes you feel drowsy

Melatonin is naturally produced by your body in response to darkness. Melatonin inhibits wakefulness and alerting neural pathways in the brain. This stops you feeling awake and alert, which makes it easier to relax and fall asleep.


Cherries and kiwis are naturally high in melatonin and therefore can make you feel drowsy.


In clinical research 30ml of cherry juice with each evening has been shown to improve sleep quality.

In other research Kiwi fruit have been used as a source of melatonin. 2 Kiwis a day have been shown to have a positive impact on sleep.


milk and dark chocolate are good sources of tryptophan which can help you sleep better

Tryptophan is an amino acid which is converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin can influence your sleep and mood. However, research is conflicting with Serotonin increasing wakefulness in some situations and improving sleep quality in other situations. Higher amounts of serotonin often cause drowsiness. More tryptophan leads to more serotonin which can lead to better sleep.


Regardless of Serotonin's role in sleep, clinical research using 1g of Tryptophan has been shown to reduce waking through the night.


Whole milk is the best source of tryptophan and 1/2 Pint of whole milk contains >1g Tryptophan. Enough to positively impact sleep.


Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that inhibits sleep. There are genetic differences between peoples response to caffeine. Caffeine has a long effect on the body. It takes your body (on average depending on the individual) 5 hours to remove half the caffeine from your body.

For this reason it is advisable to not have caffeine after midday in order to allow restful sleep that night.


There are other nutrients with less studied effects on sleep. Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin D have possible effects on sleep, however have limited research into them.


References

Chan, V., & Lo, K. (2022). Efficacy of dietary supplements on improving sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 98(1158), 285–293. https://doi.org/10.1136/postgradmedj-2020-139319

Doherty, R., Madigan, S., Nevill, A., Warrington, G., & Ellis, J. G. (2023). The Impact of Kiwifruit Consumption on the Sleep and Recovery of Elite Athletes. Nutrients, 15(10), 2274. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15102274

Losso, J. N., Finley, J. W., Karki, N., Liu, A. G., Prudente, A., Tipton, R., Yu, Y., & Greenway, F. L. (2018). Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms. American Journal of Therapeutics, 25(2), e194–e201. https://doi.org/10.1097/MJT.0000000000000584

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