Diet and sleep research
Dr Chin Moi Chow and Dr. Helen O’Connor published the first report that demonstrated efficacy of a high glycaemic index (GI) evening meal in inducing sleep in regular sleepers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (impact factor 5.65) (Afaghi et al 2007).
This work has received much publicity in the mass media since its journal publication, stimulating community interests in non-drug management of insomnia.
In extending this work on glycemic load, Dr Chow and Dr. O’Connor further investigated the influence of the very low carbohydrate diet (low glycemic load) on sleep (Afaghi et al, 2008). This work showed a detrimental effect of low carbohydrate ingestion on sleep pattern. A dietary approach, especially through glycemic index and load manipulation, is novel and has the ability to provide a treatment without drug side-effects for insomnia sufferers in addition to its commercial potential.
Altitude training and sleep
Altitude training in the form of Live-high Train-low strategy provides an edge for performance in competitive athletes. However, the hypoxia of altitude disrupts sleep.
Through the work of graduate student, Dr. Tahnee Kinsman, in an ARC SPIRT grant, through collaboration with Prof. C Gore, Drs. A Hahn and D Martin (Australian Institute of Sport), Prof. J Hawley (RMIT University), and Prof. M McKenna (Victoria University), we have published a series of four papers, thereby staking a claim as the first research group to investigate altitude sleep in athletes.