The keto diet can affect many aspects of a person’s lifestyle, and one of them is sleep. We will answer a few questions about how Keto and sleep are connected, and what sleep issues you might experience while in ketosis. There are also some uses for gadgets and sleep trackers if you are on the Keto diet.
Does a Keto Diet Affect Sleep? Can It Cause Insomnia?
Yes, one of the drawbacks to ketosis is poor quality sleep for some people. On the flip side, some people may notice that they need less sleep on Keto and actually end up feeling more refreshed with less sleep than normal. This partly depends on your unique body chemistry and what stage of ketosis you’re in, as it will affect everyone just a little differently.
Macronutrients such as carbs and fats greatly affect the body in many ways, one of which is by altering sleep patterns. The National Sleep Foundation defines good quality sleep as falling asleep within 30 minutes, waking up no more than once, sleeping a minimum of 85% of the time spent in bed—and if you do wake up, falling asleep within 20 minutes.
The main problem while on a Keto diet appears to be struggling to fall asleep or waking up multiple times during the night and having trouble falling back asleep. The data is not always consistent about how fat and carbs affect people’s sleep.
Some have considered this one of the symptoms that fall in with the “Keto Flu” and which includes irritability, dehydration, and cloudy thinking. Since carbs often make people tired, it is also possible that cutting carbs will give you more of an energy boost. Whatever the case, a Keto diet changes how the body receives and processes energy, which is probably one of the main factors.
Is Insomnia a Sign of Ketosis?
Insomnia is a common signal that the body is going into ketosis. This is usually an indicator that the body has just entered ketosis fairly recently and is in the process of adjusting to the significant changes that are happening due to the different quantities of macronutrients.
Ketosis has an effect on serotonin and melatonin levels, which of course are integral in healthy sleep. Many people on a Keto diet will also get less vitamin D because Keto somewhat limits dairy, and Vitamin D is also responsible for helping people sleep well.
Doing a quick Google search will reveal that one of the top signs of ketosis reported is insomnia.
How Long Does Keto Insomnia Last?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this particular question, as this is going to vary a lot from individual to individual. Some people may only experience Keto insomnia for a couple of nights, but others may have to deal with it for around a month. A lot of this mainly depends on how long it will take your unique body to adapt to the new diet—this is just an adjustment period.
The good news is that most evidence indicates that Keto Insomnia is indeed a temporary problem. A lot of the evidence available suggests that a Keto diet can improve sleep quality. While the short-term effects of Keto may include sleep disruptions, the long-term effects point towards greater sleep quality, REM, and feeling more energized.
One way that Keto may work is by helping increase Adenosine in the body which assists in relaxation and drowsiness. Losing weight can also help you sleep better. What types of carbs consumed and what time of day people eat will also have an impact on sleep quality.
Does Keto Make You Tired?
Going back to the Keto Flu, tiredness is one common initial symptom of ketosis that isn’t very pleasant. This is a common issue, but it can be caused by many different changes associated with the new diet. You could look at it as a trade-off of energy sources, which could also factor into the problem of insomnia.
If there has been a problem with insomnia due to Keto, you might be tired for that reason. Drastically changing your diet may also mean that you aren’t getting some of the minerals you need, such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium, and again this could also link back to trouble sleeping. Ketones cause you to excrete these minerals more quickly as well, and they can also lead to mild dehydration which might cause fatigue.
Carb disruption can lead to increased cortisol levels and also interfere with the thyroid hormones. This can lead to fatigue, muscle twitching, and could affect sleep at night. Not eating enough is another common culprit to tiredness while on the Keto diet.
Your body is not used to going from burning sugar to burning fat, and figuring out how to get energy sometimes takes time. This is a big reason for fatigue on the Keto diet, and it might just take a little time to adjust.
To combat both fatigue and insomnia caused by Keto it’s crucial to make sure that you are getting the electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients you need, not to mention water. It could also help to watch when you eat, try to manage stress, and turn off electronics before bed.
Ultimately fatigue and insomnia might just be something you have to bare through before getting to the more energized state that Keto can offer after the adjustment period.
Sleep Gadgets and Sleep Trackers
If you are struggling with insomnia on the Keto diet another step you could take is to invest in one or more sleep gadgets or trackers. Technology has done a lot to try to address the problem of insomnia and other sleep issues and to come up with ways to help people struggling.
You may want to look into how sleep tracking apps and devices work because many people have found relief from using them. They are made to help you understand why and how your sleep is being disrupted, and they often offer features to help you get a better night sleep.