Can Carbs at Night Improve Sleep Quality? Will It Make me Fat?

I recently made an Instagram post where I mentioned that when people experience weight loss from eliminating dense carbs, it’s usually from a restriction of overall calories rather than just the carbs alone. I feel like I’ve been the defender of carbs lately and today’s post will only support this further. If you haven't checked out my previous take on carb intake, check it out here. I almost feel entitled to speak on carbohydrates because I’ve experienced first hand what carb restriction can do to someone. I’ll cut right to the chase and say that carbohydrates are important to someone especially when training and can have some great beneficial effects on sleep. If you take that statement alone from this post then I’d be happy. If you’re interested to know why carbohydrates can particularly help sleep quality, then keep reading.

 

I really only have two reasons why carbs can be beneficial to share today…

 

1.     Increased carbohydrate intake increases insulin secretion. When this happens, the body uptakes all other neutral amino acids except for tryptophan. Instead, tryptophan concentration is increased in the bloodstream instead of going into muscle cells allowing more of it to cross the blood brain barrier. Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, which is converted to melatonin (our sleep hormone).

 

2.     Blood sugar dips too low at night causing an increase in cortisol, which impairs overall sleep. The hormone cortisol has some important functions in our body, but it carries a bad reputation because of its tendency to be high in unhealthy populations. In this case, cortisol will cause the body to secrete its own glucose because its dipped at night, which can disrupt sleep quality.

 

Did I just justify your evening carb cravings? If you’re concerned about weight gain as a result of eating carbs at night, don’t be. As long as calories are distributed evenly throughout the day, there should be no issue with having some carbs at night.

Stay tuned for the #upgradedmacrosproject