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Bad/light sleep because of paleo/reduced carbs?

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  • Bad/light sleep because of paleo/reduced carbs?

    Hi,

    I've been eaing +- paleo for the last 4 months and it seems like I'm not sleeping really well ... I don't fall asleep easily and I wake up too early ... Now I've read in Mark's latest post that insomnia might be a result of a low carb diet, at least at first?

    Any comments/recommendations?

    Thanks!

    Jerome

  • #2
    This is my area..!

    I've had insomnia for years. It got worse when I went vegetarian, and got worse again when I went low carb. I've researched it to death, have asked several big boffs about it, and never found a satisfactory answer. I have several hypothesis about it.

    Are you fat adapted? Hows your fat intake?

    Basically, when the average, sugar burning person sleeps, they use up glycerin stores. When these get depleted (which they do easily - particularly if you're eating low carb), the body cannot rest, because it starts looking for fuel. The result is waking fitfully throughout the night. Some people wake up hungry, others just wake up with a racing mind.

    If you've changed to primal, but haven't upped your saturated fats considerably, you're still relying primarily on sugars as your source of fuel. Unless you're eating really heavy carbs at night, these get depleted quickly. Your body goes into a state of stress, because it's searching for fuel, and it makes you wake, feeling stressed out, or hungry.

    If you're fat adapted, it doesn't matter if your glycerin stores are low, because your body has a constant source of fuel to keep it in a state of rest.

    Another thing is hypoglecmic insomnia, which is when your blood sugar drops too low and again, you wake up looking for food. Or your liver can respond by dumping glycerin back into your blood stream, and the burst of energy wakes you.

    I'm in the process of adapting to fat burning, and I'm still waking up for an hour each night- but not feeling hungry anymore.

    I know other things it could be too - tell me more of your symptoms and I'll see what I can share.
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    • #3
      ^^ Wow awesome info YogaBare. I too had this problem the first few nights on the diet but it seems to be a bit better now. Interesting facts about it though I never knew!

      Comment


      • #4
        YogaBear, thanks a lot so far!

        I eat quite a lof of fats actually (meat, fish, chicken, eggs) and it's not that I'm hungry when I wake up. I've just trouble falling asleep and I wake up in the night or too early in the morning. Might also be coupled to the weather though ... but it's quite ongoing now for weeks if not months.

        Comment


        • #5
          Happy to help I know what it's like...!

          Is your mind racing? Do you have any symptoms of low blood pressure? People's blood pressure goes right down when they are low carb, and if someone's was already low the further reduction can cause a range of symptoms.

          I suspect there is a connection between low blood pressure, racing mind, and sleep disturbances. I'm looking into it at the moment!
          "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

          In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

          - Ray Peat

          Comment


          • #6
            As far as blood pressure, I used to be in the rather low category ... But I haven't had a test since I've gone low card/paleo. The mind is racing at times too which I guess has nothing to do with low carbs though?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Xeronimo View Post
              Hi,

              I've been eaing +- paleo for the last 4 months and it seems like I'm not sleeping really well ... I don't fall asleep easily and I wake up too early ... Now I've read in Mark's latest post that insomnia might be a result of a low carb diet, at least at first?

              Any comments/recommendations?

              Thanks!

              Jerome
              How much exercise do you get? Moving slowly each day helps my sleep. You might also consider supplementing magnesium at night
              Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

              Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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              • #8
                If your blood pressure was already low then there's a very high probability it's dropped to very low.

                In relation to the racing mind - I do think what we eat has an effect on our minds. Our brain effects our body, and our body effects our brain. Eg. Sugary foods can cause blood sugar spikes, which can cause roller coasters emotions. It's obvious when you think about it, but we're taught to compartmentalise our bodies and minds, so we don't consider it.

                In short - Cutting carbs effects the physiology, so you can be sure it effects the psychology.

                Is your heart beating with a strong pulse when you wake? This is a symptom of low blood pressure, and the heartbeat effects the brain, which effects how you think.

                Originally posted by peril View Post
                You might also consider supplementing magnesium at night
                Many people say that magnesium helps them to sleep. Magnesium is also one of the remedies for raising your blood pressure!
                "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                - Ray Peat

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by peril View Post
                  How much exercise do you get? Moving slowly each day helps my sleep. You might also consider supplementing magnesium at night
                  I do the 'Lift heavy things' routine 3x a week. Plus the sprints once a week. And I walk quite a lot.
                  Additional magnesium always made me feel ill :/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by YogaBare View Post
                    If your blood pressure was already low then there's a very high probability it's dropped to very low.
                    Maybe I should get that checked at some point. What's weird too is that I'm tired during the day (since I've slept badly) but then don't fall asleep easily at night ... !?

                    In relation to the racing mind - I do think what we eat has an effect on our minds. Our brain effects our body, and our body effects our brain. Eg. Sugary foods can cause blood sugar spikes, which can cause roller coasters emotions. It's obvious when you think about it, but we're taught to compartmentalise our bodies and minds, so we don't consider it.

                    In short - Cutting carbs effects the physiology, so you can be sure it effects the psychology.
                    Body and mind are actually one ... I don't eat much sugar anymore though!

                    Is your heart beating with a strong pulse when you wake? This is a symptom of low blood pressure, and the heartbeat effects the brain, which effects how you think.[/quote]
                    I don't think my heart beats strongly when I awake ...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Xeronimo View Post
                      Maybe I should get that checked at some point. What's weird too is that I'm tired during the day (since I've slept badly) but then don't fall asleep easily at night ... !?
                      Yeah, I had the exact same thing for ages... Your inability to sleep is not due to a lack of tiredness, it's something metabolic, which I believe is caused by diet.

                      Originally posted by Xeronimo View Post
                      I don't think my heart beats strongly when I awake ...
                      If you wake up tonight, really pay attention to your breathing, your mind, and the strength and rate of your heart beat. Let me know!
                      "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                      In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                      - Ray Peat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow!
                        I'm having the same problem. So bad that I had to stay home from work today because Iwas awakw so much in the night I can't even see straight. Woke up with racing thoughts & pounding heartbeat. Couldn't fall back to sleep for hours.

                        I was eating primally for a few months, then went off for about 10 days. Finally getting back to more strict primal and have had sleep problems the past 2 nights.
                        Seven Trees Farm - diversified subsistence farming on 1.25 acres.

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                        • #13
                          This is an interesting thread. The other day i woke up so early and I was starving, went to the fridge and ate some protein and carbs and went right back to sleep. Since switching to paleo i fall asleep so quickly. I used to read for at least an hour before I fall asleep and now I just pass out. I stopped setting my alarm when I don't have to go to work and I wake up exactly in 8 hrs.

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                          • #14
                            This is really common on low carb diets (not that Primal is low carb, before someone jumps on my back..!). You see tonnes of posts about it on the Atkins boards, but no solutions. I think even Mark has trouble sleeping, but he's deciding it's bi-phasmic sleep (I don't agree - other non nocturnal animals sleep the night through).

                            I've been researching it for months, and it's only just starting to make sense.

                            Originally posted by cayla29s View Post
                            This is an interesting thread. The other day i woke up so early and I was starving, went to the fridge and ate some protein and carbs and went right back to sleep. Since switching to paleo i fall asleep so quickly. I used to read for at least an hour before I fall asleep and now I just pass out. I stopped setting my alarm when I don't have to go to work and I wake up exactly in 8 hrs.
                            I fall asleep more easily now too - small victory 8 hours is a good stretch, so long as the quality is good. On a healthy diet you definitely need less sleep, but I truly believe that most people need at least 7.
                            "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                            In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                            - Ray Peat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by YogaBare View Post
                              This is really common on low carb diets (not that Primal is low carb, before someone jumps on my back..!). You see tonnes of posts about it on the Atkins boards, but no solutions. I think even Mark has trouble sleeping, but he's deciding it's bi-phasmic sleep (I don't agree - other non nocturnal animals sleep the night through).

                              I've been researching it for months, and it's only just starting to make sense.



                              I fall asleep more easily now too - small victory 8 hours is a good stretch, so long as the quality is good. On a healthy diet you definitely need less sleep, but I truly believe that most people need at least 7.
                              I still have 7 lbs to lose so maybe I under ate the night before. I just thought it was weird because I usually sleep through the night and waking up hungry to the point that I had to eat something was unusual. I also have been trying to lower my carb intake. I'm averaging about 120 g in a week. This is low carb for me since I'm used to eating around 160 g and less fat before paleo. I also had to factor in my sleep. Some days I don't get my hrs and I know this affects my appetite so a lot variables here in place.

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