8 Ways to Beat Keto Insomnia

by Patti Croft September 08, 2021

Many people who start the ketogenic diet prepare themselves for the keto flu. That is when your body goes through symptoms very similar to the viral flu. You may get headaches, fatigue, body aches, and some nausea. But those symptoms can also be easily avoided.  

What some don't know about is keto insomnia. This side effect doesn't happen to everyone, but if it affects you, don't let it deter you from a healthy lifestyle. Sleep issues usually go away once your body gets used to the change. 

A low-carb diet can be very beneficial to your health, so you don't want something like insomnia to derail you. Let's look at what keto insomnia is and how you can beat sleep issues and get a great night of rest!

Keto Sleeping Problems

Why does a keto diet create sleep problems for some people? The answer is that most of us have used carbohydrates as the energy source for our bodies. That gives the body a steady glucose supply, which in turn gives your brain L-tryptophan. 

L-tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin, which is known as the feel-good, relaxing hormone. Serotonin converts to melatonin which helps us get that good night's sleep we all crave. 

When you reduce your carbohydrate intake enough to go into ketosis, you remove the L-tryptophan your body wants and needs. Luckily, there are things you can do to remedy your sleep issues. 

1. Exercise Helps Keto Insomnia

Exercise is good for us, no matter what diet we practice. It can lessen the time it takes for you to fall asleep.  30 minutes of exercise has been shown to reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep and help you sleep longer overall. But even more significant is this - long-term exercise (at least 4 weeks of regular exercise) has been correlated with insomnia patients falling asleep faster, sleeping longer, and improved sleep quality.

Moderate exercise also helps with weight loss, which reduces the chance of having problems such as sleep apnea, which can greatly affect sleep quality. Obesity can keep you from getting enough quality sleep. It can contribute to things like acid reflux, asthma, and in some cases, depression. All of these can keep you up at night.

2. Reduce Your Stress

We have all heard that stress can be brutal for our mental state, but it also causes sleep disturbance. Too much of it produces the stress hormone cortisol, which will play a definite role in your sleep quality. 

It may seem easier said than done, but there are techniques that can help with stress. When you have less stress, your energy levels will soar, making you feel like doing more things like exercise. 

Poor sleep can even increase your stress, so it becomes a vicious cycle. Eating a healthy diet high in good fats and low in processed carbohydrates can make you feel less anxious and help you deal with stress better. 

3. Watch Your Diet

Some people think if they go with a keto diet, they can eat anything at all as long as they keep their carbs down. That is not the case. You will want to keep up with your macros, at least in the short term, until you get the hang of how you need to eat. 

Protein keeps you satiated, so if you don't get enough of it you may feel irritable and hungry. There are also keto-friendly snacks that will help you not feel like you are depriving yourself of anything. You don't want to starve yourself because that will lead you back to a life filled with processed junk food, and none of us want that! 

A keto diet helps stabilize blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar is too high you may get hot or feel irritable and become unable to get to sleep. Having low blood sugar can make you feel weak and clammy, which can interrupt sleep quality. 

4. Take Some Supplements

Did you know that magnesium affects over 300 processes in the body? One thing magnesium can do is help you relax. Many people take Epsom salt baths to ease sore muscles and help them with sleep. 

A quality magnesium supplement can ease you right into sleepiness while lowering your risk of cardiovascular problems and diabetic issues. Some people give magnesium credit for relieving their tension headaches as well. 

Some people don't get enough potassium when they begin a keto diet. Your body needs electrolytes to function well. If you have started a high-fat diet and have symptoms like headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, or other new health symptoms, it could mean your electrolytes are unbalanced. 

5. Try Intermittent Fasting 

It may not be for everyone, and some health conditions don't allow certain people to practice fasting. However, intermittent fasting can be a great tool to reduce keto insomnia. It can also help you stay in ketosis.

One advantage of intermittent fasting is that you may experience increased energy. When you have more energy, you can do more, which will leave you feeling tired enough to get a better sleep when your head hits the pillow. 

Any new diet will create a change in your body. One of the changes you will notice with intermittent fasting is that it detoxes your body. Since we come in contact with an extreme amount of toxins every day, it is good to let our bodies naturally detox to get rid of those impurities.

6. Have Less Screen Time

Our circadian rhythm is like a clock that our bodies live by each day. In times past, people lived according to the rising and setting of the sun. Our brains were hardwired to know that light meant we should be up and doing something, and darkness was a sign for rest. 

Now with all the electronic devices around, we get exposed to blue light. That comes from our computers, cell phones, tablets, and even televisions.   Blue light has been found to interfere with our natural circadian rhythm, which affects the sleep cycle. 

While on the keto diet, or any other meal plan, one of the best things you can do for better sleep is to limit your screen time. Blue light delays melatonin production, which affects how sleepy we feel. By reducing melatonin, we get less REM sleep. 

REM sleep affects how we feel and contributes to our moods. If you are on the ketogenic diet and have found you can't sleep well, you may need to turn off your electronics at least one hour before bed. 

7. Use Relaxation Methods

You don't have to feel overwhelmed and stressed to want to relax. It is natural to want to unwind after a hard day. If you've gotten into ketosis and feel great, but still can't seem to get proper sleep, try some natural relaxation methods. 

One thing you can try is a warm bath with some essential oils and Epsom salts. Many people find a twenty to thirty-minute bath relaxes them and gets them ready for sleep. For some, this is enough to cure their sleep issues. 

Meditation is a great way to decompress from the day. You don't have to be an expert. If you can spare five minutes a day, you might surprise yourself with how much better you feel. 

Take a short walk. If you feel tired, give yourself ten minutes to get outside and experience nature for a few minutes. A little sunshine may help with depression and help calm the body down. You may find you are more relaxed after taking a walk. 

For a mental boost, if you have a pet, make sure you spend time playing with and petting them. Many people report lower levels of insomnia simply from owning a pet.

8. Lower Caffeine Consumption

Many of us love our morning coffee or tea. It's a part of our routine. Yet, many people consume way too much caffeine during the day. Since it is a stimulant, caffeine can affect our sleep. If you experience keto insomnia, it's a good idea to limit the amount of caffeine you get. 

Give yourself a cutoff time that you stick to every day. Don't drink anything caffeinated after that. A good rule of thumb for some is to avoid caffeine after lunch. That gives your body plenty of time to calm down so that you don't get bothered by sleep disturbances. 

You can make lateral shifts. If you enjoy your afternoon coffee or tea, you don't have to give that up! Swiss water process decaf coffee is a great option. You don't have to do without an indulgence to fix your insomnia. 

A new diet may feel restrictive, but the ketogenic diet should leave you feeling satisfied. You can still have foods and drinks you love, but you may need to make some adjustments along the way. 

Sleep Like a Baby

If you've been afraid to try the ketogenic diet because of insomnia, you'll be interested to know that most people report improved sleep after being on the diet for a while. Many people say after the initial phase, they felt and slept better than ever. 

It's called a diet, but cutting out processed carbs and sugars is a healthy lifestyle. When you change your eating, you can change your life, and that will improve your sleep. With these eight ways to beat keto insomnia, you'll be sleeping like a baby in no time!

References :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082414/

https://www.insider.com/going-keto-can-affect-your-sleep-2018-7

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-activity/exercise-and-sleep

https://www.healthline.com/health/cortisol-and-sleep#bottom-line

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286839#benefits

https://www.sleep.org/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20177034/

 

Patti Croft
Patti Croft

Patti Croft is a Certified Health Data Analyst with a thirst for all things natural and holistic. Coupled with her MBA, Patti uses her skill set here at NuVision Health Center to dive into the research. Her expertise is in taking complex medical data and delivering it in a way that readers can understand and implement into their lives.