The effect of chrono-nutritional manipulation of carbohydrate intake on sleep macrostructure: A randomized controlled trial

Angelos Vlahoyiannis, Eleni Andreou, Panagiotis Bargiotas, George Aphamis, Giorgos K. Sakkas, Christoforos D. Giannaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & aims: Over the years, there is a rapid increase in the prevalence of inadequate sleep and its detrimental consequences. Yet, the impact of prolonged nutritional interventions on sleep optimization remains unexplored. To examine the effect of carbohydrate manipulation combined with exercise training on sleep macro-structure. Methods: Forty-two healthy, trained male volunteers were recruited for this study. The 4-week intervention consisted of three groups: i) Sleep Low-No Carbohydrates (SL-NCHO): participants consumed all their carbohydrate intake at regular intervals prior to evening training, ii) Sleep High-Low Glycemic Index (SH-LGI) and iii) Sleep High–High Glycemic Index (SH-HGI): Carbohydrate intake was spread throughout the day, both prior (60% of total CHO intake) and after evening training (40% of total CHO intake). The SH-LGI and SH-HGI groups differentiated by consuming either LGI or HGI foods in the evening, respectively. Alongside, participants performed a standardized exercise program combining resistance exercise and high-intensity interval training. Participants' sleep macro-structure was assessed with polysomnography, actigraphy, sleep diary, and sleep-wake questionnaires. Results: Objective assessments revealed a substantial time-effect on sleep initiation, duration, and continuity. After the intervention, sleep onset latency decreased (p < 0.001), sleep duration was prolonged (p = 0.006), sleep efficiency increased (p < 0.001), and wake after sleep onset decreased (p = 0.035). Sleep macroarchitecture did not significantly change, while the percentage of REM sleep stage to the total sleep time increased over time (p < 0.01). Consistent with the objective findings, subjects reported improved subjective sleep quality (p = 0.043) and reduced daytime sleepiness (p = 0.047). Conclusion: The combination of a personalized dietary plan with exercise training enhances sleep initiation, sleep continuity, sleep duration, REM and N1 sleep stages, independently of carbohydrate type or timing. Lifestyle interventions should be investigated further to promote sleep quality and recovery. Registration: The trial was registered at as NCT05464342.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858-868
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Actigraphy
  • Carbohydrate periodization
  • Glycemic index
  • Glycemic load
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep duration


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