Aside from pre & post-workout nutrition, we can also use our macronutrient partitioning & timing to help align our circadian rhythm.
Our circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of our brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It controls when we fall asleep and when we are awake.
Things like jet lag, shift work, daylight savings, blue/bright light or a cortisol spiking (edge of your seat) TV show, movie or activity in the evening can disrupt our cycle, which makes us feel out of sorts and can make it harder to pay attention.
A protein-rich breakfast helps to kick off our adrenaline (epinephrine) and increases dopamine synthesis and release. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is linked to motivation, alertness, pleasure, energy, problem-solving, wakefulness, attention, memory and happiness.
Sleep & Food:
In order for a restful sleep, we require 2 things: Serotonin and Melatonin. Serotonin is the precursor to Melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate our circadian rhythm. The higher the stress levels of a client, the lower Melatonin they have. We can assist this process with an evening meal containing Tryptophan rich foods (which increase serotonin production) such as turkey, eggs or salmon combined with a carbohydrate source such as basmati rice, potato or quinoa. In order for melatonin to get into our cells to help us fall asleep, we need a very important, yet often demonized hormone called Insulin. Carbohydrates stimulate the production of insulin and also help to lower cortisol. Remember adaptations, muscle growth, mood regulation, memory storage and tissue repair occur during our sleep. A night of good sleep is highly important.
At Clean Health we use a variety of meal plans such as carb backloading with supplementation protocols that can assist our circadian rhythm, balance our neurotransmitters & improve insulin sensitivity. These include:
- Magnesium Glycinate (Gaba Mag)
Supplementation and macronutrient timing for optimal performance is covered in greater detail in our Performance Nutrition Coaching Certification. Click here, to view our full course calendar:
Yours in health,
Amy Needham / CHFI Coach
Clean Health Fitness Institute
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