The Surprising Thing Keeping You Awake at Night

In All Health Watch, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article, General Health, Sleep Health by Garry Messick0 Comments

Most of us think we know what causes insomnia…

Too much caffeine…stress…jet lag…using a computer at night…napping too much. 

A new study shows that there is another powerful factor that drives sleeplessness.

The research comes from the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Investigators analyzed records from 50,000 participants in a women’s health study. They compared rates of insomnia with data on diet.[1]

The researchers found that the higher a person’s dietary glycemic index, the greater their risk for insomnia.

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods cause your blood sugar to rise. Refined carbohydrates such as candy, pastries, pasta, white rice, and white bread have high glycemic index numbers. The scientists found that these foods are associated with poor sleep.

Insomnia is serious business. Its negative effects go beyond next-day grogginess. Studies show that not getting enough sleep is linked to higher risks of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression, memory impairment, lack of sex drive, and shorter lifespan.[2] [3]

How do high-glycemic foods cause insomnia?

Dr. James Gangwisch was the study’s senior author. He said that when blood sugar goes up quickly, “your body reacts by releasing insulin.” The resulting drop in blood sugar “can lead to the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which can interfere with sleep.”[4]

The study was based on women. But refined carbohydrates have the same glycemic effect on almost everyone. So the authors say the findings likely hold true for men as well.

Low-Carb Diet for Better Sleep

If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, try a low-carb diet. It has a low glycemic index. Low-carb eating is simple. Follow these guidelines:[5]

  • Avoid sugar and starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes.
  • Eat meat, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and natural fats like olive oil and butter.
  • Fruits that are high in fiber and low in sugar are OK. They include berries, avocados, grapefruit, kiwis, pears, and watermelon. But avoid fruit juices. They are typically high in sugar.[6]

The most important rule of low-carb eating? Avoid sugary foods and drinks that push insulin higher, especially soda.

With a low-carb diet, you’ll not only sleep better, you’ll be overall healthier.

If you suffer from insomnia, you’ll want to know about a simple breathing trick that brings on deep, refreshing sleep. Learn about it in Independent Healing, the monthly journal that brings you science-backed health advice you won’t find anywhere else. Go HERE to subscribe.

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[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1093%2Fajcn%2Fnqz275

[2]https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/06/health/insomnia-heart-attack-stroke-connection-wellness/index.html

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/insomnia-concerns#effects-and-impact

[4]https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-12-refined-carbs-trigger-insomnia.html

[5]https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb

[6]https://www.healthline.com/health/best-low-sugar-fruits#blackberries

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