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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    Fat adapted = better sleep?

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    When I went vegetarian 4 years ago, my already-sketchy-sleeping-styles went from average to abysmal. If I ate a normal-sized meal in the evening, I would wake after four hours of sleep, and toss and turn til I ate something again (usually bread). The only thing that helped was grossly overeating for a couple of days. I knew deep down that it has something to do with my diet, but everyone (doctors, naturopaths etc.) told me it was psychological.

    Queue recently where, after starting Primal and cutting grains, my insomnia flared up again.
    Upping my carb intake didn't help much, so I went back to my old friend overeating (though not so much junk).

    From my research I discovered that many, many people (primarily on low carb diets like atkins) report difficulty sleeping once they cut their carbohydrate source, but I wasn't able to find an answer as to why. And then it struck me -

    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, feeling hungry.

    When you're vegetarian, you're automatically on a "healthy" low animal fat diet, hence you're relying primarily on sugars as your source of fuel. Unless you're eating really heavy carbs at night, these get depleted quickly, and make you wake.

    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.

    Now that I've figured it out it seems so obvious! All the little cheats I was doing that stopped me from being a fat burner also stopped me from getting the night's sleep I was desperate for.

    Anybody find they're sleeping better when they're fat adapted?

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    Tribal Rob's Avatar
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    I know longer wake up becaue I'm hungry, and I don't have to eat right before bed, so my chances of a good nights sleep have improved. Unfortunatly external factors (small, cute, come wandering in bleary eyed at 2am and take up a dispropotionate amount of bed space) play a large part in the amount of sleep I get
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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    What a timely post! I've had abysmal sleep for over a month now. Tossing, spinning, mind racing, hot flashes - goes on for hours during the middle part of the night. But I can generally finally get to sleep about 5 a.m., but by the time I have to get up at 6:30-7, my body feels totally sluggish. UGH!

    I have been doing a fairly strict Whole30 for the past 2 months. I am just now adding in a few "non-Whole30" foods, namely cheese and wine twice in the past week, and a piece of birthday cake last night as the first sugar or grains in over 2 months. So I can't really say I'm "fat adapted" right at the moment, but I certainly have been in the past 2 months.

    In my younger, pre-menopausal days, I would sleep like a brick for the first 4-5 hours or so of the night, get up to pee, then sleep slightly more lightly for the last 2-3 hours. And wake up refeshed, not ass-draggin' like now...

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    June68's Avatar
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    Hm...interesting idea. I wonder how long it takes to become fat adapted in this way? I'm a little over a month of 100% primal and low on the carb scale and I still sleep like crap, waking up for at least an hour in the middle of the night. It sucks. I've experimented with ambient light, turning of LCD screens early and booze/no booze....nothing has worked so far. When I'm desperate I take melatonin, but seriously, the only thing that keeps me asleep is NyQuil and I don't want to resort to that when I don't have a cold. I wish I knew the answer.
    5' 9" 44 YO F
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    Pre PB SW = 180 (no scale at home, Mom's scale January - 153lbs!)


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    ToldUzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by June68 View Post
    Hm...interesting idea. I wonder how long it takes to become fat adapted in this way? I'm a little over a month of 100% primal and low on the carb scale and I still sleep like crap, waking up for at least an hour in the middle of the night.
    If it's not because of hunger you wake up, then it might be perfectly normal:
    What is Biphasic Sleep? | Mark's Daily Apple
    What on earth?! Take a walk on the wild side.

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    June68's Avatar
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    I don't think it's hunger since I don't feel pangs or my stomach growling; I'm just awake. Tres annoying. If it continues I'll have to reevaluate and see about this biphasic sleep deal.
    5' 9" 44 YO F
    PB start June 2, 2012
    Pre PB SW = 180 (no scale at home, Mom's scale January - 153lbs!)


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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    June, I feel your pain! I know what it's like. How do you sleep before and after waking? Are you sleeping soundly or do you toss and turn?

    I'm skeptical of the bi-phasic sleep idea... other non-nocturnal mammals seem to sleep the night through.

  8. #8
    YogaBare's Avatar
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    June, btw - was reading your journal a while back - really enjoyed it

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    June68's Avatar
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    Thanks yogaBare...feel free to chime in on the journal if you like.

    I sleep pretty soundly when I do, and depending on hormone level, I also remember my dreams. It's that I'm snapped awake in between and it's hell. maybe it will change. Am going to be rigorous about no LCD screen within an hour of turning in/sleep. It seems that's very disruptive.
    5' 9" 44 YO F
    PB start June 2, 2012
    Pre PB SW = 180 (no scale at home, Mom's scale January - 153lbs!)


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    Metric's Avatar
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    When eating a SAD and vegan diet, I could sleep for over 12 hours no issue (restless sleep - lots of tossing and turning) and would wake up tired and lethargic. Now, I am sleeping better throughout the night and can get away with much less sleep and wake up earlier on my own, without the use of an alarm clock (which would have been previously unheard of).

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