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Old 04-04-2004, 02:04 PM   #1
wjones
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I've been wondering about the connection between nutrition and sleep. Two questions I have:

1) I'm a poor sleeper and have noticed that my ability to get to sleep, or not, varies depending on what I eat and how long before bed. Going to bed with any kind of background hunger is a no-no as I just cannot get to sleep. Eating within a few hours of bed also seems to prevent me getting to sleep quickly. Has anyone else noticed this? Any tips for when to eat and what to eat to help sleep? I know carbs before bedtime can make some people sleepy, but obviously we're all trying to avoid that.

2) I have also noticed that when I'm very tired my good nutrition habits slip. In fact, I would say sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between tiredness (and the need to sleep) and hunger (and the need to eat). Sometimes fatigue masquarades as hunger and I eat, but still feel hungry, except it isn't hunger but tiredness. Has anyone else noticed this? Any tips on recognising the difference, or is it just a case of 'counting' (maybe counting meals?) calories and knowing when you've eaten 'enough' and it's just fatigue.

Sorry if these questions seem vague. Sleep is maybe one area of my training where I'm letting myself down and it seems to be intimately tied to nutrition.
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Old 04-05-2004, 02:48 AM   #2
Paul Kayley
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It has been found that the stage 4 deep sleep growth hormone release is not as negatively affected by blood sugar levels, as is the case during waking hours. However, higher blood sugars can keep you awake anyway. Different foods affect various people in varying ways. I find that a protein meal within 3 hrs of normal bedtime can leave me feeling more alert and delays sleep.

A small insulin burst 15-20 mins before bed can increase tryptophan transport across the blood brain barrier, thus boosting seratonin and inducing tiredness. Best to try and use a food which causes an insulin pulse without loads of carbs or protein .... I find yoghurt works for me.
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Old 04-05-2004, 09:29 AM   #3
Ryan Shanks
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You know what I'd try? 50mg of 5-htp everyday with supper. I have sleep problems and I can't tell you how much it helps. 5-htp cuts the time it takes to fall asleep down by 1/2 on average. Caps cost about 50 cents each, so it's well worth it if it helps you. It can be purchased at most nutritional/supplement stores. Eating a small snack before bed helps me get to sleep too.

Do you nap during the day?

Here's a quick link: http://www.raysahelian.com/5-htp.html
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Old 04-05-2004, 09:50 AM   #4
Robert Wolf
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I would be wary of trying to consistently raise serotonin levels with either 5-htp or insulin spiking. Grab a copy of Lights Out:Sleep, Sugar and Survival.
Robb
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Old 04-05-2004, 11:03 AM   #5
Brian Hand
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Just curious, any opinions on melantonin?
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Old 04-05-2004, 11:43 AM   #6
wjones
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Thanks for the posts so far. I am wary of medicating with anything, even if it only creates a psychological dependency on it. I tried herbal sleeping tablets but didn't feel comfortable with the psychological side of hoping and relying on them helping. I prefer to do this a naturally as possible :-)

I will check out the Lights Out book Rob. It's something I've held off buying but it sounds like it might answer a lot of my questions on this exact subject.
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Old 04-05-2004, 12:15 PM   #7
David Werner
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W
You are on the right track trying to fix your sleep habits. Dan John has a lot of good stuff to say about this; here http://danjohn.org/work.html , and here http://danjohn.org/recovery.html
I also get to the point where I'm too tired to eat and too hungry to sleep.

Brian
Melatonin and Seratonin are counter regulatory hormones - you don't affect one without affecting the other. Robb's advice to be carefull should be heeded. Here is one look at the topic http://www.sleepfoundation.org/publi...nthefact.cfm#5.

Sleep works best for me when all the other parts of my life are in order and I'm on a regular schedule. Tough to accomplish but worth the effort.

Dave Werner
Crossfit fNorth
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Old 04-05-2004, 03:38 PM   #8
Paul Kayley
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I suffered from this sort of insomnia for 3-4 months.... tried all sorts .... 5-HTP and melatonin do help for occasional fall-backs... however, dont use these if you can help it..... the key is your own mind .... stop worrying about sleeping ... just take it when you can and if you wake up use the time positively without worrying about it. A racing mind and too much self-monitoring or introspectiveness will stop you sleeping, so chill out and sleep like you would in the wild for a while... just whenever you can or whenever you feel like it... stop putting pressure on yourself.
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:36 AM   #9
David Werner
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Paul

That's really good advice. You hit the nail on the head about too much introspection.

Dave werner
Crossfit North
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Old 04-07-2004, 07:52 AM   #10
Dale S. Jansen
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In my profession(firefighter)sleep is hit or miss 10 days a month. naps are invaluable and i usually sleep like a log on my off days. If up all night, come home and workout right after breakfast. no nap until the afternoon. then usually get a 2nd pt session in. so, time enough for sleep when we die. Dale
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