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Sleep... the most anabolic thing you can do.

Updated: Apr 24, 2022

Chronic sleep debt is likely to promote obesity due to the dysregulation of appetite, hunger, insulin sensitivity and cravings.

It will also lower your mood, work output and diminish your immunity to disease.

The circadian rhythm is influenced by light-sensitive proteins in your eye that trigger signals to tell you whether it is light or dark and whether you should be up and about, moving or not.



  • too much alcohol

  • frequent use of caffeine

  • diets high in sugar and processed food

  • deep fried fatty foods and burnt (passed their smoke point) oils

  • opioids and other medications

  • stressful events

  • melatonin/serotonin (natural hormones for sleeping and waking)

  • CBD

Sleep disruption and irregular sleeping patterns are putting you in different time zones, effectively jet lagging yourself.



Orexin is a hormone involved in sleep/wake regulation, involving your alertness, wakefulness but also appetite, energy balance and glucose metabolism. It is central to good mood and productivity.

The expression of orexin is induced by lowered blood sugars, low levels of food, and even pregnancy.

Low levels of orexin directly cause obesity even when low levels of calories are consumed.


Increasing orexin

  • Eat a low inflammatory diet: this includes whole foods, vegetables, plenty of raw plant fats and quality proteins but importantly removing foods that may cause disruption to you such as underlying intolerances, allergies and non-organic products.

  • Reduce inflammation further by including walnuts, flax, chia, sesame, seeded berries, fatty fish and seafoods to assist in elevating the balance of omega 3 and 6 vs saturated fat in your diet.

  • Eat adequate protein, balanced throughout the day. The non-essential amino acids assist in activating orexin as they tell your body there’s enough energy around - especially the proteins such as gelatinous cuts of meat (slow cooker cuts such as ribs, oxtail, shin, cheek) as they have higher levels of proline, glutamine, cysteine and glycine.

  • Exercise - plenty of it! Ideally outside as natural sunlight also benefits your circadian rhythm and light sensitivity.

  • Fermented foods contain lactic acid, and the production of lactic acid can block glucose production, which decreases orexin production. Eating more fermented foods can actually help increase orexin production.

  • Research suggests that increased blood glucose levels like in diabetes, will actually prevent the production of orexin. By eating less sugar and lower glycemic carbohydrates you give your body the chance to produce more orexin, which can potentially increase your energy usage and improve your sleep.

  • Include cooked and cooled carbohydrates for more fibre and resistant starch.

  • Intermittent fasting during the day can actually make your body producing more orexin.

  • 30 minutes of cold exposure has also been researched to improve the orexin levels in rat studies.

  • Increase dopamine with nutrients such as tyrosine, SAM-e, rhodiola, Berberine and mucuna. Most of which are found in the HMN24 range. (USE CODE HUSKNUTRITION FOR 10% OFF)



1 tsp honey + 1 tsp coconut oil

  • use this before bed to balance blood sugar through the night. Elevations in blood glucose are also known to make us sleepy and using a fat source will slow the elevation of blood sugar into the bloodstream without crashing during the night.

Milk proteins/yoghurts

  • natural whole food sources of tryptophan and immunoglobulin. Tryptophan makes serotonin/melatonin which is a big part of your sleep and wake cycle. Milk protein hydrolysate (lactium) is also studied to assist in calmness.

Cherry and banana

  • Cherries are a natural source of vitamin C and the only food source of melatonin. Bananas have potassium, magnesium and importantly tryptophan for calming, muscle relaxing properties.

Sleepy meal - try chopped cherries and banana in live yoghurt with honey, walnuts, flaxseeds & ground cinnamon

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