The Keto Diet
If you haven’t heard all the rave in the media about the keto diet, then listen up because it can benefit you in more ways than one, and has even been shown to improve your sleep habits. The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been shown to give you more energy, manage weight loss, and can even improve your blood sugar levels. When we say a “low-carb diet” that’s really what we mean, it’s no more than 20 grams of carbs per day, (that’s less than one piece of bread or bagel), and replace them with high-fat foods like eggs, butter, cheese, vegetables, and other proteins. What happens is that your bodies main source for energy comes from carbs, once those carbs are used up it enters what we call ketosis, this is a state where your bodies start burning fat for fuel instead of carbs.
When you start the keto diet you might experience what they call “keto insomnia.” You’ll start to feel more energy, and even when it’s time to go to bed, you’ll feel ready to clean the house or write that history paper for your upcoming final project. This is mostly done to the fact that because you are eating fewer carbs your body isn’t making L-Tryptophan (which is an amino acid that helps increase serotonin and melatonin) in the body.
“It’s not uncommon to hear people report sleep problems when they start a ketogenic diet,” notes Michael J. Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist with a specialty in sleep disorders. “A big reduction in carbohydrate intake combined with a significant increase to fat intake — which happens on a keto diet — can cause changes to sleep patterns. These macronutrients have different effects on the body and can affect sleep in distinct ways.”
Not to worry though, it usually only happens for a short time, as your body adjusts to this diet you will notice that you don’t have those “slumps” (up and downs) throughout your day and at night you get better REM sleep.
“Studies show a ketogenic diet promotes adenosine activity in the body, helping to relax the nervous system, as well as reducing any pain or inflammation — all of which can help improve sleep.”
“A separate Swedish study found that children with hard-to-treat epilepsy who followed a keto diet slept better, experienced more REM sleep, and felt significantly less sleepy during the day — all of which improved their overall quality of life.”
The keto diet can be beneficial to your sleep habits but should never be used as a “sleep aid” if you struggle to keep weight on you might think about going another route, for example try eating less sugar, eat during certain hours of the day, and not at night where it could be affecting your sleep. Drink enough water and even exercise has been shown to improve sleeping habits. In all honesty be active, eat healthily, and live a happy life and you might just see your sleeping patterns change and your way of life change as well.