Eat rice for a good night’s sleep

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Many people have heard of the glycaemic index (GI), but ignore it as they do not really know what it means. The GI is a list of foods placed in ranking order to how it affects the blood sugar levels in humans. High glycaemic foods boost blood sugar and insulin much faster than low-glycaemic foods. It is high-glycaemic foods which make it difficult to manage diabetes, which is linked to better sleep patterns.

In a recent study involving 2000 Japanese males and females, starchy foods, such as noodles, bread and rice were evaluated to measure its effects. In Japan, the Industrial Health and Safety Law stipulates that employers conduct annual health examinations for their employees. Along with this, researchers asked for a questionnaire to be completed to assess the exercise and diet habits of the participants. To do sleep assessments, they used the Japanese version of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, by observing sleep duration, latency, quality, disturbances, efficiency, use of medication and dysfunction during the day.

On comparison of the data, they discovered that men and women who had reported a higher dietary GI and increased rice consumption, reported a good night’s sleep, based on duration. Bread consumption, such as pizza and white bread, was not linked to sleep quality. High noodle consumption, such as pasta and Japanese noodles, was linked to poor sleep. It was also discovered that those who consumed more bread drank more alcohol, which is known to result in poor sleep.

Researchers stated that high dietary GI may have an impact on sleep due to the high levels of tryptophan and melatonin, which is a sleep hormone.

The study indicated that the Japanese consume around 10 times more rice than their counterparts in Europe and North America. They tend to have a higher dietary GI (70) than Western populations (60), however only half of them reported getting a good night’s rest when the National Sleep Foundation 2013 International Bedroom Poll was completed.

So, do you start following this diet or not? Prior research supported a high-glycaemic diet when it was related to sleep. Researchers have found that high-glycaemic foods, which are low in carbohydrates, reduced the amount of time it takes to finally go to sleep.

Image Credit: mario

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