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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Keto Diet arrow Ketosis Insomnia: 6 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep on Keto

Ketosis Insomnia: 6 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep on Keto

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: March 29, 2023
6 min read 928 Views 0 Comments
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Not being able to sleep on the keto diet can be frustrating. This could dampen your ability to exercise and lose weight efficiently. We provide 6 ways you can beat ketosis insomnia and get a good night’s sleep on this low-carb diet.

Ketosis insomnia

A lack of sleep can make you feel drained and severely fatigued. Some people struggle to fall asleep due to stress, work schedules, and dietary changes. One prominent meal plan includes the keto diet.

Keto is a low-carb meal plan that supports weight loss. You can eat high-fat, low-carb foods to lose fat and reach your body goals. 

While this diet is beneficial for losing weight, it can have a few side effects. Sleep deprivation seems to be a common symptom for many, but how can you beat it? 

Keep reading to discover 6 ways to get proper sleep on the keto diet. 

Ketosis Insomnia: 6 Tips on How to Beat It

The keto diet is a popular dieting plan that can help you lose weight. Reducing your carb intake can encourage the body to burn more stubborn fat. Of course, this sounds perfect, but entering ketosis – a fat-burning metabolic phase – can negatively affect your sleeping pattern. 

Here are 6 ways you can beat insomnia on the keto diet: 

#1 Don’t eat before bed

Consuming food 1–2 hours before bed can lead to poor sleep. This is because eating a meal encourages the release of insulin – a hormone that gives you more energy. Even a small snack can affect your sleep-wake cycle. 

It’s recommended by nutritionists that you leave 3 hours between your last meal and bedtime. This can prevent uncomfortable symptoms like acid reflux. Your body has time to break down food and slowly release sleep hormones until you feel tired enough to go to sleep. 

It might be challenging to avoid food before bed, especially if you’re hungry. However, those cravings will pass the longer you follow this diet. 

#2 Have a balanced diet

A balanced meal plan can play a huge role in your sleep quality. Eating nutrient-dense foods on the ketogenic diet helps to regulate melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. This specific hormone evokes feelings of tiredness when it’s nearing the end of the day. 

You should eat low-carb, high-fat foods containing vitamin B, magnesium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are best for regulating hormones and preventing common sleep problems like insomnia. Most people get 70–80% of fat from their total daily calories to regulate their energy levels. 

Research suggests that vitamin B can support melatonin production and regulate your sleep cycle. Moreover, magnesium could help you fall asleep faster while preventing disrupted rest in the middle of the night. 

Some vitamin-rich foods to eat include spinach, chia seeds, almonds, broccoli, kale, lean beef, salmon, and eggs. 

#3 Get enough electrolytes

Electrolytes are important minerals, such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, that support key functions in the body. Not getting enough electrolytes from food and beverages may prevent proper sleep hygiene. 

Calcium has been proven to transform amino acids from foods into melatonin, which could cure keto insomnia and promote restful sleep. 

You can also drink electrolyte-based supplements or eat keto vegetables like spinach and broccoli since they are high in minerals. 

#4 Watch your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a type of stimulant that alerts your brain. This is why drinking coffee can make you feel more awake in the morning. A high caffeine intake, especially in the evening after a big meal, can stop your body from getting tired. 

Research suggests that caffeine can increase ketone levels and help you stay in ketosis. This is one reason why people drink too much on a low-carb diet. You should only drink black coffee in the morning on an empty stomach to energize you for the day. 

Aim to consume no more than 400mg of caffeine a day, which is around 4–5 cups of coffee. If you can, avoid drinking coffee in the evening to ensure your brain isn’t too active before bedtime. 

#5 Sleep in a cold, dark room

The environment can affect your sleep quality throughout the night. Being too hot and uncomfortable may increase the risk of chronic sleep deprivation on the keto diet. Therefore, open a window to let in cold air and try to make your room as dark as possible. 

Melatonin, being a sleep hormone, can only take effect when it’s dark. This is because your body has a day and night cycle that controls when you feel tired. 

Cold rooms also decrease wakefulness and speed up rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM is a critical sleep stage that allows your body to rest completely. 

#6 Limit your screen time

Scrolling through your phone in bed or watching TV a few minutes before can negatively affect your sleep pattern. The brain has to stay awake to absorb the information you’re getting from the screen. 

Instead, limit your screen time throughout the day. Read a book for 30 minutes before bedtime, have a warm bath, or practice meditation to get better sleep. 

Listening to relaxing music or podcasts could also soothe your mind. Music helps you to focus on sleep rather than outside distractions that keep you awake. 

What Is Keto Insomnia?

Keto insomnia is a lack of sleep on the ketogenic diet. It’s classed as a keto flu symptom due to the hormone fluctuations that come from eating low-carb foods. You might struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get consistent rest throughout the night. 

Not everyone will experience insomnia on a low-carbohydrate diet, but it’s possible. Cutting out carbs from your meal plan means the body doesn’t have enough L-tryptophan. This is an essential amino acid that participates in melatonin production

If your body cannot produce melatonin efficiently, you won’t be able to sleep properly. Poor sleep quality may increase the risk of high blood sugar, depression, and hypertension. 

However, keto insomnia shouldn’t last longer than one week. Once your body adjusts to fewer carbs, you won’t have sleepless nights. It’s only common for those who have just started the ketogenic diet. 

What Causes Keto Insomnia?

Nutrient deficiencies, digestive issues, and eating food before bed can make sleeping on the keto diet difficult. Some people struggle to get enough nutrients while eating low-carb foods, which could prevent the body from regulating sleep hormones properly. 

Suddenly cutting carbs from your diet can cause digestive problems. Common issues include bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Although this side effect doesn’t happen to everyone, it can trigger muscle cramps, leading to uncomfortable rest. 

An electrolyte imbalance combined with nutritional deficiencies contributes to insomnia. Your body sheds calcium, magnesium, and potassium during weight loss, which inhibits the production of melatonin. 

Keto flu symptoms can also give you sleepless nights. You might get headaches, keto rash, nausea, and intense hunger cravings that disrupt sleep while you’re following the ketogenic diet. 

How Long Does Keto Insomnia Last?

Keto insomnia should only last for a few days. Your body needs time to adjust to the new diet. Depending on their current sleeping pattern and meal plan, some people might experience this side effect for 1–2 weeks.  

You might be worried about experiencing insomnia while losing weight, but it’s a common symptom that should settle after 5–7 days. Sudden changes to your diet may confuse the body and trigger hormone fluctuations throughout the day. 

However, if sleep disturbances last longer than two weeks, something might be wrong. You may not be consuming enough essential nutrients to function properly. The less sleep you get, the more likely you’ll have low blood sugar and weakened muscles. 

Consult with a medical professional about your sleep and slowly transition back into your previous diet. Unfortunately, the keto diet isn’t for everyone, so you may have to find another weight management plan. 

A Word From a Nutritionist

Not getting enough sleep can have many consequences. You might experience mood changes, painful migraines, and chronic fatigue that stops you from completing daily tasks. Therefore, consuming the right nutrients on the keto diet is crucial for getting good sleep regularly.

Consider eating omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, magnesium, and iron. These nutrients are best for helping you sleep. You could take keto supplements if you aren’t getting enough minerals on the keto diet.

Always limit your screen time and caffeine intake. These two factors are stimulants that will keep your brain awake at night. Instead, read a book before bed and sip some herbal tea to calm your mind.

If you currently have a sleep disorder while following the keto diet, speak to a doctor. It’s important to get the right treatment to ensure you get a good night’s sleep every night.

Conclusion

Dealing with keto insomnia can be challenging, but limiting your caffeine intake and following a balanced meal plan should help you sleep better. To stay healthy, always consume nutrient-dense foods, including keto seafood, lean beef, chicken, and leafy green veggies. 

If the symptoms don’t go away after a few days or a couple of weeks, you should visit a medical professional.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: March 29, 2023
6 min read 928 Views 0 Comments
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