How Does Ketosis Affect Sleep. Keto & Sleep

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Insomnia is common amongst keto dieters, particularly early on in transitioning to the keto diet.

Insomnia caused by the keto diet is because of the low levels of serotonin and melatonin, as well as higher than normal energy levels.

The good news is that although, in the short-term, the keto diet can cause interrupted sleep and insomnia.

But in the long-term, the keto diet can lead to deeper sleep and less required sleep overall.

In this article we will discuss the causes of keto insomnia and how you can cure it.

keto diet, ketogenic, keto friendly foods, low carb high fat, healthy keto fats

People generally complain of sleep problems when they start a ketogenic diet. A big reduction in carbohydrate intake combined with significant increase to fat intake—which happens on a keto diet—can cause changes to sleep patterns. 

These macronutrients have different effects in the body and can affect sleep in many ways.

There are two sleep inducing neurotransmitters in the human body called Serotonin and Melatonin.

An amino acid called L-tryptophan, which is found mainly in carb rich foods helps in increasing serotonin and melatonin.

Since on a keto diet you are not eating many carbs so you don’t have the optimum level of  L-tryptophan in your body that would help you to sleep.

Moreover, on a ketogenic diet, you generally have higher than normal energy levels which can also inhibit your sleep.

Possible Explanations for your Keto insomnia.

#1. Keto Flu

The most common reason people have trouble sleeping when they switch to a ketogenic diet is because of the keto flu.

It happens when your body switches to burning fat for energy instead of glucose from carbs.

Keto flu might start within 2 – 3 days and last for a week or two. Keto flu symptoms may include nausea, dizziness, stomach cramps, headache and fatigue which can keep you awake at night.

#2. Your body takes time to adjust to new keto macros.

Higher amounts of protein and fat you eat on a keto diet combined with your reduction of carbs can temporarily affect your sleep while your body adjusts to this new way of eating.

Your body takes some time to adapt to metabolizing the macros of a keto diet, and this adaptation can influence your sleep patterns.

#2. Your body takes time to adjust to new keto macros

Higher amounts of protein and fat you eat on a keto diet combined with your reduction of carbs can temporarily affect your sleep while your body adjusts to this new way of eating.

Your body takes some time to adapt to metabolizing the macros of a keto diet, and this adaptation can influence your sleep patterns.

#3. You have higher than normal energy due to fats

keto diet, ketogenic, keto friendly foods, low carb high fat, healthy keto fats

It’s strange, but your consumption of healthy fats might be keeping you wide awake at bedtime.Healthy fats such as grass fed butter, coconut oil and the MCT oil are known to give your brain and body a lift which might make you super energetic even at bedtime.

#4. You might have an electrolyte imbalance

When you’re low on magnesium, which is an important mineral and electrolyte, you may be a little more stressed and anxious than usual.  This can also keep you from falling asleep fast.

Before you speak to your doctor about sleeping pills, just know most sleep problems go away for the majority of people on a ketogenic diet.

And with the help of a few of these sleep hacks, it may go away sooner than later.

Tips To Have A Sound Sleep on Keto

Tip #1. Have an early dinner

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Don’t eat anything four hours before bedtime. This gives you enough time to work off the energy from your last meal before bed, while also providing enough fuel that you don’t wake up starving in the middle of the night.

Tip #2. Maintain an electrolytes balance

If you’re just starting the keto diet, chances are your electrolytes need balance. Take a high-quality electrolyte supplement to reduce any side effects of low electrolytes, including insomnia.

Tip #3. Dim the lights and put down your devices

keto diet, ketogenic, keto friendly foods, low carb high fat, healthy keto fats

Darkness lowers cortisol levels and increases melatonin whereas bright lights do the opposite.

Turn down the lights in your house in the evening and avoid looking at your cell phone, laptop, TV for too long before bedtime.

The blue light from these devices raises cortisol levels which interferes with the way melatonin is produced so it takes you longer to feel tired and fall asleep.

Tip #4. Exercise in the morning.

Since exercise wakes up your entire body, you’re going to have a harder time calming down for bed if you work out late. But do not miss your exercise sessions.

If you are having a hard time falling asleep, then you need to burn off your excess energy by working out between 20–30 minutes at least three times a week.

Tip #5. Gradually ease into the keto diet

Those who have trouble sleeping may want to consider slowly decreasing their carbs instead of starting at the 20 grams limit on day one.

Trim your diet by 50g of carbs per day until you reach the 20 – 25 grams net carb average for ketosis.

Tip #6. Keep your caffeine intake to a minimum.

keto diet, ketogenic, keto friendly foods, low carb high fat, healthy keto fats

Caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for up to six hours after you consume it. Taking caffeine up to 6 hours before bedtime will disrupt your sleep so have your coffee in the morning and early afternoon hours only.

Tip #7. Try adding a few more carbs to your diet.

Finally, as a last resort after trying all the other sleep tips, try adding a small amount of carbs may be 5 – 10 grams per day, back in your diet. This extra glucose may stabilize your cortisol levels and also help with serotonin production. 

It’s important to understand that our eating and sleeping lives are deeply connected. 

What and when we eat affects our circadian rhythms, our gut health, our energy levels, and

the hormones and biochemicals that stimulate and sedate us. 

If you’re starting a keto diet, there is a high possibility that your sleep may change at first. 

Just follow one or all of these tips to get your proper 8-hour sleep.

If the sleep issues don’t ease after a few weeks, take a look at modifying your eating strategy in consultation with your doctor.

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