Justin Turner and other athletes stay fueled at bed time with these late night snacks

Justin Turner and other athletes stay fueled at bed time with these late night snacks


Regular sleep is very important for athletes. As an athlete, you can relax your mind and recover from physical exhaustion through sleep. Sleeping also influences athletic performance by bettering decision-making, reaction times, coordination, promoting a lean physique, and building stronger muscles. You can benefit more from your sleep by paying close attention to what you eat before bed. Most people are careless about this. But the truth is, your nutrition before bed cannot only affect the quality of your sleep but also increase your body’s ability to heal and get in shape for the next athletic performance.

Foods That Help You Sleep Better

If you find it hard to get the 7-9 hours of recommended sleep per night, you may want to concentrate on increasing the quality of your sleep. Foods that contain lots of tryptophan can soothe the body and make it ready for sleep by increasing serotonin (a chemical that makes one feel happy) and melatonin (a hormone that supports circadian rhythms) levels; two compounds known to promote sleep. You can also improve the quality of your sleep by eating carbohydrates before bedtime. 

Perfect Snack:

  • Milk combined with a handful of trail mix
  • Pumpkin seed butter mixed with a small-sized banana
  • Cottage cheese laced with whole-grain crackers

Foods That Help You Recover Faster

The body releases the human growth hormone (HGH) during sleep. This hormone supports muscle and bone development, repairs tissues damaged in exercise, and helps the body stay lean. Bedtime snacks that contain lots of amino acids (protein-filled foods) and choline (a neurotransmitter), found in egg yolks, promote HGH production in the body. Studies have shown that eating casein, the slow-digesting dairy protein, can help your muscles grow quicker and stronger. Antioxidants also help the body get rid of harmful free radicals. By consuming these foods before bedtime, you give your body a chance to heal while you sleep.

Perfect Snack:

  • A smoothie of tart cherries combined with spinach, casein protein powder and almond milk
  • Hard-boiled eggs combined with kiwis, walnuts and dark chocolate

Foods That Help You Stay Alert

Lots of important activities take place in the body while we sleep – hormones are released, insulin is boosted, muscles and tissues are repaired and stress hormones are controlled. Getting adequate sleep is important for alertness and having a winning mind set. As an athlete, if you don’t sleep adequately, your performance will be greatly affected. Only athletes who are mentally alert can do well in task performance and skill training.

Foods that are good for improving mental alertness are those that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including flaxseeds, sardines, salmon, walnuts and certain plant oils. Antioxidants and phyto compounds also helps to boost mental function.

Perfect Snack:

  • Smoked salmon mixed with olives
  • Golden milk tumeric latte
  • Orange segments combined with walnuts

Poor sleeping patterns can negatively affect the performance of an athlete. As an athlete, you can improve the quality of your sleep by consuming the aforementioned snacks before hitting the sack.

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