Balanced meals lead to better sleep

Balanced meals lead to better sleep

You know that high-sugar snacks and meals impact your glucose, but did you know that these same choices and an unsteady plate also impact your sleep?  Alternatively, meals that prioritise protein and fats with just a modest amount of complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, beans, and legumes) can help you sleep better. (1) And better sleep promotes better glucose management.  In individuals with impaired glucose metabolism, the research points to a clear relationship between poor sleep leading to poor glucose management and poor glucose management leading to impaired sleep. (2) But with some simple changes, you can avoid the cycle.

Eat a balanced lunch by filling ½ your plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with proteins, and ¼ with complex carbohydrates. Vegetable soup with a chicken-salad sandwich on wholemeal bread would be a great choice. As you track your glucose, notice how changing the sources and amounts of carbohydrates impacts you. And if your glucose is high, fill up on chicken salad and soup, skipping the bread. 

Focus on the protein

For your evening meal, increase the protein proportion and reduce the complex carbohydrates. An evening meal that’s high in protein and healthy fats with a modest portion of complex carbs like whole grains, beans, and legumes can steady your glucose and improve your sleep quality. (1)

Tonight, try one of these delicious ideas:


  • A salad starter and a main dish of salmon, mixed vegetables and lentils 
  • An omelette with ham and mushrooms plus a side salad with avocado and seeds 
  • Grilled chicken breast with quinoa, roasted peppers, courgettes, and tomatoes

July 19, 2023


  1. Davis R, Bonham MP, Nguo K, Huggins CE. Glycaemic response at night is improved after eating a high protein meal compared with a standard meal: A cross-over study. Clin Nutr. 2020 May;39(5):1510-1516.
  2. Lee SWH, Ng KY, Chin WK. The impact of sleep amount and sleep quality on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev. 2017 Feb;31:91-101.

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