Eating A High Carbohydrate Meal At Night May End Insomnia

high carbohydrate diet sleep

Could eating a high glycemic carbohydrate meal for dinner be the key in how to cure insomnia? A new study has some promising results.


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High Carbohydrate Meals Induce Sleep By Increasing Tryptophan

Want to fall asleep faster? Eat a high carbohydrate meal four hours before going to bed. Researchers have found that carbohydrate intake has been shown to increase the level of tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, a sleep-inducing agent that helps you to fall asleep faster.

A recent study has determined that a high-glycemic carbohydrate meal eaten up to four hours before bedtime can better help you to fall asleep faster than a low-carbohydrate meal. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Carbohydrates Role In Inducing Sleep
Researchers set out to investigate the role of carbohydrates in inducing sleep. They looked at the effect of glycemic index and mealtime on the sleep in healthy volunteers.

Researchers compared the effect of high and low-glycemic index carbohydrate–based meals ingested 4 hours before bedtime on sleep quality and evaluated the effect of the timing of high-glycemic index meals (4 hours compared with 1 hour) on sleep quality.


Twelve healthy men, aged 18–35 years were administered meals that included 600 grams steamed rice and 200 grams steamed vegetables in tomato puree. Either Mahatma (low glycemic index = 50) or Jasmine (high glycemic index = 109) rice was given 4 hours before their usual bedtime. On another occasion, the high-glycemic meal was given 1 hour before bedtime.

High Carb Meals Do Induce Sleep

According to the study, a significant reduction in the average onset of sleep was observed with a high-glycemic meal compared with a low-glycemic meal consumed 4 hours before bedtime. The high-glycemic meal given 4 hours before bedtime showed a significantly shortened onset of sleep compared with the same meal given 1 hour before bedtime. No effects on other sleep variables were observed.

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High Carb Eaters Fall Asleep Faster

In the end, the study showed that a carbohydrate-based high-glycemic meal resulted in a significant shortening of sleep onset in healthy sleepers compared with a low-glycemic meal and was most effective when consumed 4 hours before bedtime. The relevance of these findings to persons with sleep disturbance should be determined in future trials.

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