Effects of High vs. Low Glycemic Index of Post-Exercise Meals on Sleep and Exercise Performance: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Counterbalanced Polysomnographic Study

Effects of High vs. Low Glycemic Index of Post-Exercise Meals on Sleep and Exercise Performance: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Counterbalanced Polysomnographic Study



The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of the glycemic index of post-exercise meals on sleep quality and quantity, and assess whether those changes could affect the next day’s exercise performance. Following a baseline/familiarization phase, 10 recreationally trained male volunteers (23.2 ± 1.8 years) underwent two double-blinded, randomized, counterbalanced crossover trials. In both trials, participants performed sprint interval training (SIT) in the evening. Post-exercise, participants consumed a meal with a high (HGI) or low (LGI) glycemic index. Sleep parameters were assessed by a full night polysomnography (PSG). The following morning, exercise performance was evaluated by the countermovement jump (CMJ) test, a visual reaction time (VRT) test and a 5-km cycling time trial (TT). Total sleep time (TST) and sleep efficiency were greater in the HGI trial compared to the LGI trial (p < 0.05), while sleep onset latency was shortened by four-fold (p < 0.05) and VRT decreased by 8.9% (p < 0.05) in the HGI trial compared to the LGI trial. The performance in both 5-km TT and CMJ did not differ between trials. A moderate to strong correlation was found between the difference in TST and the VRT between the two trials (p < 0.05). In conclusion, this is the first study to show that a high glycemic index meal, following a single spring interval training session, can improve both sleep duration and sleep efficiency, while reducing in parallel sleep onset latency. Those improvements in sleep did not affect jumping ability and aerobic endurance performance. In contrast, the visual reaction time performance increased proportionally to sleep improvements.

Authors: Angelos Vlahoyiannis, George Aphamis, Eleni Andreou, George Samoutis , Giorgos K. Sakkas and Christoforos D. Giannaki 

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