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  • Low Carb and Sleeping problems?

    Hey everyone, im a pretty recent convert to the primal life, and im loving learning new things here on the site. I was wondering if anyone else who follows a low carb diet, ever has trouble staying asleep, or not feeling rested even after a full nights sleep? This usually happens when my carbs get really low, I find myself waking up and craving something to eat, and end up going to town on trail mix or something i shouldnt eat a half pound of haha.

    i remember this same sort of effect from doing carb cycling diets a few years ago trying to lose weight. Could it be just due to low calorie intake, and does it pass if you just fight through it? i do drink a few cups of coffee a day, but this doesn't seem to correlate with drinking more or less coffee, although i do drink more to compensate on days after this happens. any advice or similar experiences would be great, even if just to help me feel normal, thanks!

  • #2
    Sounds like part of the low-carb flu to me. Don't eat carbs when you wake up at night. Eat something that is high-fat, like a tablespoon or two of coconut oil. The cravings will go away in time, but only if you don't feed them.
    Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

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    • #3
      I remember Dr Eades mentioning this on his blog. It is related to being in ketosis and he recommended eating some carb just before you go to bed to keep you out of ketosis till you get to sleep. I think he said a teaspoon of honey but can't remember exactly.

      You mention low calorie intake. You may want to try raising your calories if they are low and you are doing low carb at the same time.
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      • #4
        i wonder if it could be ketosis, because i've been working towards strictly primal-ness for a few months, and it has been at least 6 weeks since i had a high sugar/carb meal, i've faught through that big flu, and this has come up since i've gotten my diet much better refined, trying to get off of snack/crutch foods like lots of fruit and nuts. Ill try that high fat snack before bed, and if that doesn't work ill try some berries. any other tips for a quick high fat snack besides almonds or nuts, i have a hard time stopping at a handful with those. being responsible takes a little preperation haha

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        • #5
          1/2 sweet potato in the evening does the trick for me when I cannot sleep (usually only if lots of stress and no exercise). Also getting off caffeine made a big difference too.

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          • #6
            My sleep has improved since adding some carbs from sweet potatoes (though I also stopped eating eggs right around the same time). I think some people do better on moderate carb levels, so adding some yams/sweet potatoes might be worth trying. Another thing to try would be cutting out all caffeine for a while and seeing what happens.

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            • #7
              I too have trouble sleeping (not necessarily because of the diet, always been that way) I hear Valerian Root Extract helps but, I haven't tried it, picking some up today. I was wanting to add a sweet potato to my diet once a week. I am interested to see if eating it at night will help me get some Zs.

              Ry- Do you eat your sweet potato at night? or did it just help in general?
              Itís the idea that people living close to nature tend to be noble. Itís seeing all those sunsets that does it. You canít watch a sunset and then go off and set fire to your neighborís tepee. Living close to nature is wonderful for your mental health.

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              • #8
                Have you tried using a Melatonin supplement?
                You take it about half an hour before you go to bed; I've found it works best on an empty stomach.
                Might be worth a go if you haven't...
                http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders...tonin-overview

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                • #9
                  I've always been an insomniac. It's either I need more sleep than anyone else does or a lot less.. Maybe you're like me. The biggest thing though is TV/ PC... if you spend a lot of time on the computer or watching tv especially before you go to sleep it just won't work.... :/
                  "The penis is the male animal-flower, a soft-firm dildo, a warm dream."
                  -Raymond Peat, PhD

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                  • #10
                    I had a bad spell of laying awake till 2am. Then I decided that I'd walk on the treadmill at night during TV time and push some weights. Worked like a charm.
                    SW: 235
                    CW:220
                    Rough start due to major carb WD.

                    MWF: 1 hour run/walk, 1.5 hours in the gym - upper/lower and core
                    Sat/Sun=Yard/house work, chasing kids, playing
                    Family walk every night instead of everyone vegging in front of the TV
                    Personal trainer to build muscle mass & to help meet goals

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                    • #11
                      Really? Exercise always wakes me up even more. What helps is meditation and thinking happy thoughts.
                      Which explains why I can never sleep :/ I'm like an energizer bunny on steroids, with murderous tendencies.
                      "The penis is the male animal-flower, a soft-firm dildo, a warm dream."
                      -Raymond Peat, PhD

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, counterintuitive isn't it? I think that was why I waited for so long to try it. It was better than laying there wondering why I couldn't sleep. Even melatonin didn't work.

                        I don't push hard on the treadmill, just kind of a casual walk.
                        SW: 235
                        CW:220
                        Rough start due to major carb WD.

                        MWF: 1 hour run/walk, 1.5 hours in the gym - upper/lower and core
                        Sat/Sun=Yard/house work, chasing kids, playing
                        Family walk every night instead of everyone vegging in front of the TV
                        Personal trainer to build muscle mass & to help meet goals

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                        • #13
                          I second the half of a sweet potato suggestion. I think that adding in 50g of carbs/day to replace some protein can help one avoid some of the unpleasant effects of ketosis. Most people adjust fine after a month or so, but others seem to have hypothyroid problems, trouble sleeping or diarrhea after a while. I think very low carb or even zero carb is great, but I don't think that going sub 40-50g of carbs/day for more than a few months at a time (without higher carb days) is the best idea.
                          This is all observational, however.

                          Oh, and I am not really a believer that fruits and veggies are necessary, so I have a different opinion than Mark.
                          Last edited by ZoŽ; 04-11-2010, 05:06 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Danger_Dave View Post
                            Ry- Do you eat your sweet potato at night? or did it just help in general?
                            I only eat two meals a day but I will typically have a sweet potato with both meals, one being around 10-11 AM and the other being around 6-7 PM. I am also in bed before 10 PM everyday except on rare occasions. So I guess my answer is both, I do eat sweet potato at night, but I also have some in the morning.

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                            • #15
                              i think i should try getting some more exercise in, i have been slacking, its true. work and school take serious time. i like having a moderate carb level better, but id like to have it lower just so i could beat the craving, get my body really adapted to a fat metabolism, and just get the thoughts about 'just a little indulgence' out of my mind. a sweet potato once a week would probably not kill me though, might opt for a squash to stay true primal

                              im defiantely trying to get my light exposure managed, ive got timers and blackout curtains now, but with roomates who like staying up late, and a g/f who wakes up early, its hard sometimes.

                              and cutting out caffeine, haha, wow that be interesting. it gave up my soy lattes, and drank black coffee instead, which upped my caffeine, but im trying to stick to 8 oz servings with heavy cream.

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