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Eat Salmon to Sleep Better

Dear Olympic Athletes:

If you’re angling to win a medal in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games — which are starting with or without snow in Vancouver/Whistler British Columbia in just 10 short days (gasp) — listen up for some homespun advice: Eat salmon the night before your competition to get a better night’s sleep.

The meal you choose the night before your event(s) could make the difference between hearing your national anthem or someone else’s. After all of your months and years of intense training, getting a good night’s sleep and fueling your body with optimum food, will give you a winning advantage. I suggest eating wild salmon while you’re here in BC.

Why Salmon?

  • Wild salmon is a golden source of omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce pain and inflammation, improve memory and focus and contribute to cardiovascular health — all vital priorities for high-caliber athletes;
  • DHA, a healthy fat in salmon, may fast-track levels of melatonin, a key sleep-regulating hormone;
  • Salmon contains magnesium which helps us sleep. Low magnesium, on the other hand, is associated with things like muscle-cramping, anxiety and fatigue;
  • Wild salmon is also fresh and local in these parts — or as they say, well-within our 100-Mile diet; and
  • Salmon’s tenacious spirit has “Olympics” written all over it.
A piece of salmon on the grill.
A fresh salmon fillet on the grill.

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your success. Shoot for at least seven hours of solid sleep every night. Remember to give yourself enough days to get over your jet lag and to adjust to Vancouver time. Also, keep your body temperature on the cool side while you’re sleeping and keep your room dark — thank goodness these are the winter games!

If you don’t sleep well, the resulting fatigue can affect your judgment and increase your risk for accidents. Does anyone out there remember the vintage “agony of defeat” ad for ABC’s, the Wide World of Sports? I think I’ve made my point.

Sushi anyone?


Maria Koropecky
Homespunspa, Recipes for Sleep and Beauty

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  1. I just found it out that it is entirely true. I ate quite lots of salmon last nite and as the result I slept like a sleepy beauty and feel so fresh when I woke up this morning. Yes, I love salmon very much :-)!

    1. Thanks Eva. I’m so glad to hear your feedback. Cheers! Maria

  2. Omega-3 fatty acids is a hormone regulator–an important nutrient in inducing sleep. You can also get omega-3 fatty acids from other fishes such as tuna and mackerel but make sure they do not contain mercury.

    In addition to getting the right nutrition, using the appropriate mattress can help sleep better. Most of us fail to have a good quality of sleep because we are not using a mattress our body can take to. When you are buying a new mattress, make sure you know what your sleep preferences are so you can find the perfect match.

  3. […] water fish: wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, shad, herring and […]

  4. Alaa says:

    Last night I had my first continuous 7 hours sleep since I can’t even remember when. I had 200 grams of salmon for dinner and when I googled that I found your article.
    Conclusion; Salmon does improve sleep that’s 100% true!

    1. That’s wonderful, Alaa! If you don’t have access to salmon, try supplementing with Omega 3 Fatty Acids as well. Maria

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