A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the effect sleep has on our appetite hormones, and how lack of sleep can increase risk of weight increase. Another recent study has further highlighted the importance of sleep. Specifically, lack of sleep linked to increased risk of injury.
The study found that adolescent athletes who slept more than 8 hours per night were 68% less likely to injure themselves than those who slept less than 8 hours. Furthermore, the older the athlete, the more likely they were to injure themselves if they did not get enough sleep. In other studies, lack of sleep has also been shown to affect performance and even inhibit recovery.
So, what are some of the things you can do nutritionally to help you get enough shut eye, regardless of age?
1. Avoid drinking large quantities of fluid close to bed time. Large quantities may result in disturbed sleep, as you may need to get up during the night.
2. Avoid eating a large meal close to bed time. Being over full close to bed time may result in feeling tired, however being uncomfortable is a recipe for poor quality sleep.
3. Ensure to include a snack, preferably one rich in carbs. As you don't want to go to sleep over full, you also want to avoid going to bed hungry.
4. Include foods rich in tryptophan, as they may enhance sleep quality
5. Avoid caffeine rich products in the hours prior to bed, as they are likely to disrupt sleep patterns.
Remember the above all need to be balanced with your other nutrition/weight/sporting goals, so a tailored approach is essential.
I'd love to hear any other strategies people have to help with getting to sleep, or injuries which have occured as a result of lack of sleep!
Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.