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1. Proper nutrition can improve the quality of your sleep by affecting the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that carry signals in your brain.

2. Eating foods that are high in protein increase the duration of deep, slow-wave sleep, and decrease the number of times you wake up during the night.

3. Choose a high-protein/low-carbohydrate meal or snack more often to improve sleep, except for right before bed when you should choose a meal higher in carbohydrates. 

You know now that sleep is a time when physiological processes are taking place that heal, repair, and regenerate your body and brain. A growing body of evidence shows that the foods you eat can improve your sleep. So how can you use food to optimize your sleep?

The key lies in the science of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are microscopic molecules that carry signals between nerves and muscles. Simply put, they are chemical messengers that carry information around the brain and body. Numerous neurotransmitters have been associated with the sleep–wake cycle. You don’t need to know all those names, but what you should know is that the foods you eat influence the type and amount of neurotransmitters manufactured in your brain and nerve cells.

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High-protein/low-carbohydrate meals increase the duration of deep, slow-wave sleep and decrease the number of times you wake up during the night. So if you need to improve your over- all sleep quality, try eating meals with more protein. The ultimate goal is to increase the amount of available tryptophan, which is taken into the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) and used to create serotonin and melatonin, two neurotransmitters that help improve sleep quality. 

One time to avoid a high-protein meal is right before bed. Adding carbohydrates to your pre-bed snack changes the game, because when carbohydrates enter the blood, they stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas, and insulin increases the uptake of large amino acids into skeletal muscle. This frees up tryptophan to move into the brain, where it can be used to manufacture serotonin and melatonin.

The bottom line is that you can improve your sleep quality by eating smarter. Experiment with different options and see what works for you.

Today's New Habit: Eat Slowly

For the next two weeks, I’d like you to try to eat slowly. When you’re doing this, don’t watch TV, put away your phones and other devices, and just focus on your meal. As you’re eating, actually notice how the food tastes and pay attention to when you feel satisfied.

You might not be able to do this at every meal and that’s okay. Pick one meal each day to try this out. Enjoy!

The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.