Well-Timed Carbs May Help You Snooze Sooner
Have you ever gone on a low-carbohydrate diet—and found yourself counting sheep at night instead of sleeping? A new study suggests your diet may be to blame.
Australian researchers compared a low-glycemic index rice (long-grain) with a high-glycemic rice (jasmine), eaten either one hour or four hours before sleep. They found that when people ate the jasmine rice about four hours before bedtime, they fell asleep almost twice as fast– in nine minutes—compared to when they ate the long-grain rice.
The researchers speculate that the high-glycemic index carbohydrate, which quickly raises blood sugar, helps people fall asleep faster because it also raises blood levels of the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, which is a brain chemical involved in sleep. (Afaghi, A, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2007 Feb;85(2):426-30.)
Bottom line: If you have difficulty falling asleep, saving your daily carbohydrate “quota” for your evening meal may be one safe way fall asleep faster without resorting to medications.