Ketogenic Diet & Insomnia | Possible Remedies/Tips to Control Insomnia on a Ketogenic Diet

Description:

Ketogenic diets cause rapid weight loss by sending the body into a condition known as ketosis. Unfortunately, they may also lead to health problems, including insomnia or poor quality sleep. The relationship between ketosis and insomnia is not fully understood, since much of the evidence for the link is anecdotal, but a better understanding of ketogenic diets and healthy sleep may help you make the right decisions about your weight-loss plan. Better to speak with your doctor if your insomnia is chronic, and before starting any weight-loss regimen.

Understanding about Working of Ketogenic Diets

A ketogenic diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrates and protein. A healthy body burns carbohydrates for energy, so if no dietary carbohydrates are present, it turns to the energy stores glycogen and fat, leading to rapid weight loss. When fat tissues break down, carbon fragments called ketones are released into the blood, causing ketosis. Weight loss can be rapid in the beginning, which may cause the often-reported sense of euphoria and unusually high energy. This may contribute to sleep problems.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or a pattern of chronically poor sleep. The condition can be caused by mental states like anxiety or depression, substance abuse, hormonal or lifestyle changes and some medications or illnesses. Dietary factors like caffeine or other stimulants, or changes in diet, can also play a part. Insomnia can often be treated with lifestyle changes like stress reduction, exercise, and quitting caffeine, tobacco and alcohol consumption. Alternative treatments like acupuncture and massage may be helpful. If you suffer from insomnia, see your doctor to rule out any underlying issues.

Carbohydrates, Ketosis & Sleep

Carbohydrates are often known as “comfort foods” because of their soothing effects on the body. Whole-grain carbohydrates provide the body with a steady supply of glucose to keep energy constant, but they also improve entry of the amino acid L-tryptophan into the brain. L-tryptophan contributes to the production of serotonin, which calms the body and helps you sleep. Since ketogenic diets eliminate carbohydrates, this dietary source of L-tryptophan is also eliminated. L-tryptophan supplements have been shown to help some cases of insomnia. Speak with your doctor about whether they might be right for you.

  • It is possible that your circadian rhythm may be disrupted.  Circadian rhythm is a natural, internal system, that signals the release of either cortisol (upon waking), and melatonin (at night). It can be thrown off if you are a night shift worker, or you are indoors most of the time. One way to get your circadian rhythm back on track is to get some sunlight on your face and eyes, right when you wake up. This helps elevate serotonin and cortisol, to wake the body up. Spend as much time as you can outside, weather permitting. And dimming the lights at night time to help lower cortisol, and raise melatonin. It’s also important to limit exposure to electronics after sunset. Electronic devices put out a light that signals the release of cortisol, much like the sun would. If you have to work at night, there are programs you can download that will change the lighting on your electronics to mimic the sun at sunset. I use f.lux for my laptop, and Night Mode for my phone.

  • Take a magnesium supplement at night. It is a natural muscle relaxer, which may help relieve stress, or help with nighttime muscle cramps that are waking you up.

  • Try taking a hot shower or bath right before bed. Add a couple cups of epsom salt, which contains magnesium, to help relax your muscles and add a couple drops of lavender oil to further your relaxation experience.

  • Avoid exercising right before bed, around 8 pm – 10 pm, if you can. Exercise wakes up the body, and energizes you.

  • Do a yoga routine, specifically developed to get you ready for bed. It can help you to unwind after a busy day, and clear your mind.

  • If none of these work, try adding a few extra carbs at night. That would look like, maybe a handful of berries. It may be what your body is needing at this time, especially if your thyroid requires more carbs than you are currently giving it.

 

Any Possible Risks of Ketogenic Diets?

Ketogenic diets offer quick but temporary results, and along with insomnia, can cause such negative side effects as kidney stones, constipation, electrolyte imbalance, cholesterol problems and long-term liver damage. Many participants in ketogenic diet plans report decreased vigor and dehydration. In a clinical trial published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” subjects on ketogenic and non-ketogenic diets lost roughly the same amount of weight and showed the same level of improvement in insulin function. The American Medical Association does not recommend ketogenic diets for safe weight loss.

Not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice.

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