Can Intermittent Fasting Cause Insomnia?
Intermittent fasting is becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious individuals looking to improve their overall wellbeing. But while it has countless benefits, it can also lead to insomnia. Certain studies show that intermittent fasting may improve sleep by balancing your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock. But it has also been linked to disturbed sleep and insomnia in some cases.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It has been practiced for centuries, but has recently become more popular thanks to its potential benefits, including weight loss and improved metabolic health. Generally, it involves limiting food intake for certain periods of time, ranging from 12 hours to multiple days.
The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Sleep
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 can disrupt sleep:
- Changes in hormone levels
- Reduced food intake
- Reduced energy expenditure
Intermittent Fasting and Insomnia: While intermittent fasting appears to improve sleep quality, it could also lead to sleep issues depending on how long you fast and the type of fasting you do. Time-restricted eating (TRE) and alternate day fasting (ADF) are two popular fasting protocols, but they can also disrupt sleep if done for too long or with too little food.
Fasting and Cortisol Levels
However, on the other hand, prolonged periods of fasting with a very limited caloric intake have been shown to cause a substantial rise in the hormone cortisol. While preliminary findings may suggest that TRE and ADF have little effect on sleep, it is important to note that these fasting protocols did not take into account the effects of cortisol on sleep. This is why people report suffering from insomnia while fasting. The hunger is too intense, the body feels under stress and sleep just can’t come.
Tips to Reduce the Risk of Insomnia
If you are considering intermittent fasting, there are several things you can do to minimize the risk of insomnia. First, make sure to eat enough calories. It’s important to get enough nutrients when fasting, as this will help keep your energy levels up and reduce hunger. Secondly, try to keep your fasting period to 12-14 hours per day. Finally, make sure to get plenty of rest and relaxation during the day, as this will help to reset your circadian rhythm and improve your sleep quality.
In conclusion, intermittent fasting can have positive effects on sleep quality, but it can also cause insomnia if done incorrectly. To reduce the risk, it is important to make sure to eat enough calories, keep your fasting period to 12-14 hours per day, and get plenty of rest and relaxation. By following these tips, you can ensure that you get the best possible results from intermittent fasting.
What can I do to prevent insomnia while fasting?
To prevent dehydration and ensure a good night’s sleep, it is important to stay well hydrated throughout the day. This means drinking plenty of fluids during both the fasting and eating time periods. However, it is advisable to avoid drinking too much water close to bedtime, as this can cause restlessness.
Does abstaining from food cause difficulty in falling asleep?
When we are extremely hungry, our cortisol levels rise, suppressing the melatonin our bodies need to make us sleepy and help us stay asleep. Because of this, people often report having difficulty sleeping while fasting due to the heightened level of hunger making them feel stressed, which in turn prevents them from being able to drift off to sleep.
What causes me to sleep less when fasting?
Although fasting for an extended period of time with a reduced caloric intake has been demonstrated to result in a marked increase in cortisol hormone levels, this can be detrimental to sleep in that cortisol can impede the ability to fall asleep and reduce the quality of sleep (Nakamura, 2016).
What impact does intermittent fasting have on sleep?
Intermittent fasting may help improve sleep patterns by strengthening the peripheral circadian rhythm. This is done by limiting food intake during the evening and nighttime, which can help restore the natural balance of the internal clock. This could potentially have beneficial effects on those who have irregular sleep patterns.
Are you new to Intermittent Fasting and need detailed guidance to get started without affecting your sleep cycle? Fasting Books provides a variety of books that explain the ins and outs of fasting with proper guidelines you need to avoid impacting your health negatively. Check out their website for more information here!