The Importance of Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important things we do as humans.
Dr. Matthew Walker, the founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, says that “sleep is the most effective thing we can do reset our brain and body health each day.” Why then, if sleep is so vital to the health and well-being of the individual, do so many people get an insufficient amount?
To start, there may be one particular factor that might be preventing you from getting a good sleep: nutrition. We all know that a healthy and balanced diet is crucial for many reasons. Eating well improves your immune system, neurological function, and your body’s ability to develop strong, lean muscle, among other things. A proper diet, filled with a sufficient amount of both macro and micro-nutrients, also plays a major role in providing regular, quality sleep.
For those who aren’t familiar with the terms macro- and micro-nutrients, they refer to the certain nutrients the body needs to function in based on their respective quantities. Macro-nutrients are needed in large amounts. The “big three” macro-nutrients are fats, carbs, and protein, although things such as fiber and water can also be classified as macros. Micro-nutrients are needed in smaller amounts in comparison, and consist of vitamins and minerals such as manganese, iron, and zinc.
According to the Women’s Health Initiative Study, fats in general don’t seem to have a tremendous impact on sleep behaviors. However, while increased fat consumption was not associated with any adverse sleep symptoms, a low-fat diet may effect the quantity of restorative sleep one gets at night, as well as cause an excessive amount of sleepiness during the day.
It’s crucial to differentiate between simple and complex carbs, especially in regards to their effect on sleep. Complex carbs, often called the “good carbs” have many beneficial effects on sleep when consumed in proper quantities. Complex carbohydrates can reduce the time it takes for a person to fall asleep, and improve the quality of said sleep. They are also less likely to wake up during the night as opposed to people who avoid carbs.
Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, have negative effects on sleep behaviors. These carbs are linked to more daytime sleepiness and fatigue. In addition, since foods with simple carbs have a high glycemic-load, they can disrupt sleep when eaten before bed. This is because blood sugar levels begin to drop 4-5 hours after consumption, resulting in surges of norepinephrine, a hormone associated with alertness. This same phenomenon is observed with late-night alcohol consumption as well.
Protein has perhaps the best direct link to sleep quality among the macro-nutrients. Studies link increased protein intake with more restorative sleep, as well as an easier time falling asleep and maintaining sleep. A study backed by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports these claims, and also shows that protein intake at 20% of total calories provides the best Global Sleep Score. Protein taken just before sleep has the added benefit of increased muscle synthesis. Studies such as this one backed by the NIH, show that protein ingested prior to sleep is effectively absorbed and therefore increases plasma amino acid availability and stimulating muscle protein synthesis during sleep.
There are a variety of micronutrients linked to improve sleep behaviors in people. These range from the B vitamins, such as thiamin (B1) and cobalamin (B12), to minerals such as Zinc and Magnesium. Foods that contain melatonin can also have a significant impact on a person’s sleep patterns. Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone that signals to your body that it’s time to sleep.
While it is naturally produced, foods such as tomatoes, walnuts, barley, and cherry juice contain melatonin and/or the precursors for it’s production, allowing for an easier time falling asleep, as well as producing more quality, undisturbed sleep. For people who may struggle with insomnia, melatonin supplementation, in short intervals, can assist in improving sleep patterns.
At Ego Boost, we recognize the importance of nutrition and sleep. It’s our belief that people start their wellness journey with a balanced diet containing a variety of nutrient-dense foods. We are here to provide consumers with high-quality products to give them the extra push to help reach their goals, such as Ego Boost Whey Protein Powder, and Ego Boost CBD Gummies, both of which have what you need to build muscle and sleep better.
If you’d like to do some more research on the science of sleep, the book Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker is suggested for further reading.