Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know that sleep is one of the most powerful tools that can be utilized by any athlete, gym-goer, or even someone who is stepping inside the gym for the first time.
Sleep is the time of day when both our mind and body are resting, allowing recovery and new adaptations to take place and change us for the better. Sleep plays a pivotal role in the performance of any athlete by having a direct impact on decision-making, coordination, reaction times, as well as promoting a leaner physique and muscle growth.
And one of the best ways you can start getting more out of your sleep is to pay attention to your pre-bed nutrition. What you eat and when you eat it, in relation to when you sleep can have a direct effect on the quality of your sleep, the depth of your sleep, and your body’s ability to recover for future athletic performance.
Today, we’re talking a little more in-depth look at pre-bed nutrition and how you can make the most out of your dinner and pre-bed snack choices!
Let’s break this down by taking a look at a couple of different goals and how they can be served (no pun intended) in relation to pre-bed nutrition.
FOODS THAT IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY
Most people struggle to get the necessary 8-9 hours of recommended sleep per night. If you’re one of those people, there are many things you can do to actually improve the quality of your sleep.
Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan can help you calm yourself down and prepare the body for adequate sleep by increasing serotonin and melatonin levels in the body. Both of these hormones are directly related to promoting a feeling of happiness and managing the circadian rhythm. Both of the compounds are also known to be sleep-inducing. And coming as a surprise to almost everyone, consuming some carbohydrates before bed actually helps you sleep better.
Perfect snack ideas:
- Whole-grain crackers with Greek Yoghurt
- A handful of trail box
- Small banana and some pumpkin seed butter
FOODS THAT IMPROVE YOUR RECOVERY
One of the many stages your sleep goes through is called the deep sleep phase. During this phase of sleep, human growth hormone is released. This is a hormone responsible for bone-building, muscle gains, tissue repair, and promoting a leaner physique.
Pre-bed snacks rich in amino acids (such as foods high in protein) and the neurotransmitter choline help stimulate HGH production. On top of that, consuming casein, a slow-digesting protein, has been directly linked to increased overnight muscle growth and better muscle recovery.
And last but not least, consider antioxidants – essential for eliminating damaging free radicals away from your body, helping stimulate recovery while you’re sleeping.
Perfect snack ideas:
- Casein protein powder with almond milk
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Walnuts and dark chocolate
FOODS THAT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT
The management of your body composition improvements is basically at the core of the goal of any athlete. If your goal is to lose weight and slim down, the same applies to you.
And while initially, it might seem a little counterintuitive that you should be adding foods to your diet in order to lose weight, this is what seems to be working for the majority of people in the long haul.
The right bedtime snack can also be used strategically to promote leanness and improve your metabolic function. If your sleep quality is worsened for one reason or another, the secretion of ghrelin and cortisol in your body increases.
Cortisol is basically a stress hormone, but it’s directly linked to the retention of adipose tissue in the abdominal region.
And ghrelin is a hormone that, when left unchecked, can lead to overeating, cravings, and hunger signals.
When you do actually get enough deep sleep, your body becomes a little more sensitive to glucose – in a good way. It adapts to utilizing energy better and performing better instead of storing it all.
That’s why when it comes to snacks before bed for weight loss, we’re going to need a balance of protein, fats, and fiber-rich complex carbs… this is especially good for those of you who get up in the middle of the night to snack on something.
Perfect snack ideas:
- Oatmeal and cottage cheese
- Turkey & hummus sandwich on some whole-grain bread
- Apples (half an apple sliced is fine)
- Greek yogurt