Intermittent Fasting Can’t Sleep? Here’s What You Need to Know
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular dietary strategy that has been shown to help people reach their health and weight loss goals. It involves alternating periods of eating and fasting, with the fasting periods typically lasting between 16 and 24 hours. During the fasting periods, you are still allowed to consume non-caloric beverages like water and tea, and some people may also consume small amounts of calories in the form of bone broth, herbal teas, and other low-calorie beverages.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has many potential benefits, such as weight loss, improved metabolic health, lower inflammation, and improved mental clarity. Certain studies also suggest that intermittent fasting may improve sleep by balancing your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock. Your circadian rhythm is responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle, and it is believed that fasting helps to reset this rhythm, leading to improved sleep.
Why Intermittent Fasting Can Cause Sleep Difficulties
The most likely reason for fasting sleep difficulties is because it has a significant effect on energy metabolism. There are 3 main ways that it does this:
- It can cause blood sugar levels to drop too low.
- It can lead to a surge in cortisol, a stress hormone that can interfere with sleep.
- It can cause an imbalance in hormones like leptin, ghrelin, and melatonin, which can disrupt sleep.
It has been postulated that TRE diets, which involve fasting for 2–5 hours before bedtime, may lower rates of insomnia. Specifically, abstaining from food for a few hours before bedtime may help your body to adjust to a more regular sleep-wake cycle.
Tips for Improving Sleep While Intermittent Fasting
When implementing intermittent fasting with only a minor daily energy deficit, you will not see a large rise in cortisol, and sleep will actually improve. But, if you are fasting for longer periods of time, such as with multi-day fasting, it can be more difficult to get enough quality sleep.
Peter says some of his patients who do multi-day fasting (3+ days) will struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep at night (less so with shorter fasts). Low blood sugar can be a potential reason for this happening. Our blood sugar will go low, thus causing our body to wake up in order to find the energy it needs.
The timing and the duration of fasting can influence how it affects sleep. Some studies suggest that periodic, short-term fasting can improve sleep, while too much fasting can lead to disrupted sleep.
Natural Sleep Aids for Intermittent Fasting
If you are having difficulty sleeping while intermittent fasting, there are a few natural sleep aids that can help. For example, taking Dr. Berg’s Sleep Aid Supplement can help to restore your circadian rhythm, increase melatonin levels, and improve sleep quality. Additionally, getting regular exercise and avoiding screens before bed can also help to improve your sleep quality.
Intermittent fasting can be a beneficial dietary strategy, but it can also disrupt your sleep if you’re not careful. The key is to find the right balance between fasting and eating, and to give your body enough time to adjust to the fasting schedule. Additionally, utilizing natural sleep aids like Dr. Berg’s Sleep Aid Supplement can help you to get the restful sleep you need to stay healthy and energized.
What might be causing me to not be able to sleep while fasting intermittently?
When someone is very hungry, their cortisol levels rise, which inhibits the production of melatonin needed for sleep. This is why fasting can lead to insomnia. The hunger can be so intense that the body is under stress, making it difficult to fall asleep.
What methods do you use to help you sleep while fasting intermittently?
Consuming an adequate amount of water during the day can help to suppress food cravings, enhance mental clarity, improve mood, and boost energy when you are practicing intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating. Furthermore, adequate hydration can help to ensure a restful night’s sleep.
How much sleep do I need while intermittent fasting?
Daily intermittent fasting involves limiting eating to a certain time frame each day, such as from 11am to 7pm. This typically results in a fasting period of 12 or more hours, including time spent asleep overnight.
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