How Having Carbohydrates At Night Can Help To Improve Sleep

Circadian Rhythm:

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 good sleep is highly important.


At Clean Health we use a variety of meal plans such as carb back loading with supplementation protocols that can assist our circadian rhythm, balance our neurotransmitters & improve insulin sensitivity. These include:

  • Magnesium Glycinate (Gaba Mag)
  • Melatonin
  • Inositol

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

Editor’s note: If you are a personal trainer wanting to learn how to maximize results with every day clientele, check out our CALENDAR OF EVENTS to find out when we are teaching our world leading courses on business, nutrition and training for fitness professionals in a city and country near you!

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