Carbs can help you sleep!
Sleepiness nights are quite possibly the worst feeling ever. You finally lay down to call it a night and you lay there for hours.
You have probably heard of some common ways to improve sleep such as: limit caffeine, reduce exposure to light before bed, set up a routine before bed, etc…
How about eating more carbs to fall asleep?
According to Afaghi and his team, High GI carbohydrates 4 hours before bed resulted in a decreased sleep onset latency.
Sleep onset latency is the length of time that it takes to go from being awake to asleep.
The High GI carb used was jasmine rice that has a 109 on the glycemic index. Coming close to dextrose (pretty much sugar) at 111.
The 4-hour pre-bed carbohydrates decrease sleep onset latency by almost 9 minutes.
Carbs and Dinner:
Unknowingly I have been eating High GI carbohydrates a few hours before bed and have noticed significantly more restful sleep. The days I work early I will usually eat my dinner around 4 or 5 pm and post dinner is always dessert (Big bowl of cereal, or some ice cream). Following dinner is some nightly rituals including shower, getting my things ready for the next day, and relaxing with my family. Around 8-9pm I am ready for bed. I will hit the bed and Im out.
Is this a prescription for my insomnia?
Take note that this would be for a healthy active individual. Due to the huge spike in blood glucose from the High-GI carbs it would not be recommended for those suffering from diabetes or obesity.
Sleep is a huge part of performance and absolutely necessary for increasing and sustaining performance. Check out this list of exercises affected by the lack of sleep: (Adapted from Reilly and Edwards 2007).
- Low aerobic
- Moderate aerobic, High concentration High aerobic
- Aerobic/ anaerobic
- Repeat anaerobic
- Road cycling, aiming sports
- Team sports
- Running 3000m, swimming 400m Swimming, middle distance running Sprints, power events
- Jumping events, weight-training
- Increased errors
- Decreased decision making Marginal
- Decreased power
- Increased fatigue
Always be ready to be proved wrong!
This is one of the many studies showing how diet can affect your sleep. Take note: My professor always said, “You will find 1 article proving something and I will find 500 articles disproving it.”
Always make sure to do your research, talk to your doctor, dietician, physical therapist, or educated professional before jumping into any self trials!
Afaghi, A., O’Connor, H., & Chow, C. (2007). High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 85(2), 426-430.
Halson, S. L. (2008). Nutrition, sleep and recovery. European Journal Of Sport Science, 8(2), 119-126.