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Can Ketosis Cause Insomnia

7 Things Everyone Should Know About Low-carb Diets

7 Things Everyone Should Know About Low-carb Diets

Last week, my staff nutritionist Laura Schoenfeld wrote a guest post for my blog called “Is a Low-Carb Diet Ruining Your Health”. Perhaps not surprisingly, it has caused quite a stir. For reasons I don’t fully understand, some people identify so strongly with how many carbohydrates they eat that they take offense when a suggestion is made that low-carb diets may not be appropriate for everyone, in all circumstances. In these circles low-carb diets have become dogma (i.e. a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true). Followers of this strange religious sect insist that everyone should be on low-carb or even ketogenic diets; that all carbohydrates, regardless of their source, are “toxic”; that most traditional hunter-gatherer (e.g. Paleolithic) societies followed a low-carb diet; and, similarly, that nutritional ketosis—which is only achievable with a very high-fat, low-carb, and low-protein diet—is our default and optimal physiological state. Cut through the confusion and hype and learn what research can tell us about low-carb diets. On the other hand, I’ve also observed somewhat of a backlash against low-carb diets occurring in the blogosphere of late. While I agree with many of the potential issues that have been raised about low-carb diets, and think it’s important to discuss them, I also feel it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that low-carb diets can be very effective therapeutic tools for certain conditions and in certain situations. With this in mind, here are 7 things I think everyone should know about low-carb diets. #1: Paleo does not equal low-carb, and very low-carb/ketogenic diets are not our “default” nutritional state, as some have claimed. Some low-carb advocates have claimed that mo Continue reading >>

Getting Better Sleep — Cool, Dark, And Lots Of B6, Carbs, Calories, And Fat

Getting Better Sleep — Cool, Dark, And Lots Of B6, Carbs, Calories, And Fat

recently posted some sleeping tips. A lot of other great bloggers write about sleep too, like Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, and Stephan Guyenet. I think sleep is really important, and I’ve had a lot of sleeping problems in the past, some of which I still occasionally struggle with, so I’m going to follow suit and post the things that have helped me most. Over a number of years, I’ve found that many things impact my ability to sleep, but from among these I can distill a handful of things I’ve found most critical: A cool, dark room. Light and phsyical activity upon waking. Lots of carbs, calories, and fat. Sufficient B6-rich foods. I need to have close to total darkness in the room when I fall asleep, and a sleep mask helps to prevent any residual light from reaching my eyes. A sleep mask does almost nothing if there’s lots of light in the room, as light on the skin seems to have a lesser effect than light on the eyes, but a nevertheless very meaningful impact. As my sleep has improved over the last two years, I’ve become less sensitive to light, perhaps because better sleep itself has begun normalizing my metabolic disturbances. But by “less sensitive” I mean that I can tolerate residual light sneaking in around the edges of curtains. I don’t mean I can tolerate no curtains or a light being on in the hallway, either of which would keep me up all night. I hope in the future my light tolerance continues to improve, as it makes no sense to me that humans are not designed to be able to tolerate at least the equivalent of moonlight and starlight. In addition to being dark, the room also has to be cool. I need a fan if the temperature gets much higher than 65F, and below 60F is ideal. I have also found that waking up at a regular time and immediately exposing mysel Continue reading >>

10 Critical Ketogenic Diet Tips

10 Critical Ketogenic Diet Tips

10 Critical Ketogenic Diet Tips A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. This leads to reduced risk of chronic disease as well as improved muscle development and fat metabolism (1, 2). I personally recommend a cyclic ketogenic diet for most of my clients where you go low-carb for 3 days and then have a slightly higher carbohydrate day, followed by 3 lower carb days. This cycles the body in and out of a state of ketosis and is beneficial for hormone balance while keeping inflammatory levels very low. The biggest challenge with this nutrition plan is to get into and maintain the state of fat adaption. Here are several advanced tips to get into and maintain ketosis. 1. Stay Hydrated: This is considered a no-brainer, but is not easy to follow. We often get so busy in our day-day lives that we forget to hydrate effectively. I recommend super hydrating your system by drinking 32 oz of filtered water within the first hour of waking and another 32-48 oz of water before noon. I have most of my clients do a water fast or eat light in the morning doing smoothies or keto coffee or tea. So hydration around these dishes should be well tolerated by the digestive system. In general, aiming to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water and closer to your full body weight in ounces of water daily will help you immensely. I weigh 160 lbs and easily drink 140-180 ounces of water each day. Sometimes more in the summer time. As you begin super Continue reading >>

Sleep Interrupted? The Blood Sugar And Sleep Connection

Sleep Interrupted? The Blood Sugar And Sleep Connection

In my last newsletter, I wrote about how most people with sleep trouble think they have too much energy and simply can’t settle down. I also discussed that one of the main causes of insomnia is actually a deep level of exhaustion. Odd as it may seem, the body needs energy to calm or sedate itself for sleep. Without energy, we stay awake, “wired and tired.” The second most common cause of insomnia is a silent blood sugar issue that affects one third of Americans. The worst part is, a shocking 90% of people are unaware of this problem until it is too late! (1) Could you or someone you know be suffering from blood-sugar-related insomnia? Keep reading to learn the facts about this troubling, little-known sleep issue. First Comes Stress, Then Come Cravings Sleep disorders affect an estimated 50-70 million Americans and, as I discussed in my last newsletter, much of this is caused by stress and exhaustion. When under stress, the adrenals go shopping for energy. Their favorite stop is the pancreas, where stress generates insatiable cravings for sweets to create the energy the adrenals can no longer provide. Before you know it, Americans are waking up to a sugar-laced cup of coffee or two. In an attempt to pick the healthy choice, we might sip green tea to keep us going through the morning. Lunch might be a salad and a diet soda. Then, as the blood sugar starts plummeting, bringing on the all-too-well-known afternoon crash, dark chocolate is passed around the office as if you had called room service. By the end of the workday, either a workout, latte or a nap is the only thing getting us home without falling asleep. The Band-aid Cure To remedy this, some of us have adopted a diet that was originally formulated for folks with severe hypoglycemia”the “six small meals a Continue reading >>

Ketogenic + Restless Legs = Insomnia ... Um, No!

Ketogenic + Restless Legs = Insomnia ... Um, No!

Okay, I have been eating ketogenic for five days now. I have gotten through the carb detox headaches and have settled into a macro plan of 5% carbs (no grains), 20% protein, 75% fat. The upside is that I like the idea of limiting my body of all of the glucose which will help my minor health conditions. But there are definitely downsides! The first is that I am having a hard time getting in enough fats under the strictures of the diet. Who knew it would be hard to eat fats? The real problem is that the fats I want to eat then include a consumption of protein and/or carbs and then throws off my percentages. Still working on that one. The bigger issue is that for the past couple of nights I have had trouble sleeping, and I have had restless legs. Sleeping is one of those things that I do well. I go to bed at the same time every night (for the most part) and get up at the same time each morning. I can fit in a 15-30 minute power nap in the afternoon and have no trouble going to sleep at night. But I have noticed a direct correlation between this new eating plan and my sleeping. And that is just something I cannot accept. I mentioned in my last post on this topic that I am not one to jump on a diet bandwagon. I am a pretty firm believer in moderation. I also know that I need to get my carbs under control and know that grains are the major culprit. It has not settled very well with me on this ketogenic diet that you have to limit your fruits so much. To me that is not balance. But I was willing to go with it if I was reaching my desired results of having a healthy body to host healthy cells. Last night, after a good hour of being wide-awake and very restless, I got up and ate a couple small spoonfuls of almond butter and a swallow of real milk and went back to bed. And I fell Continue reading >>

How To: Avoid Insomnia On The Keto Diet

How To: Avoid Insomnia On The Keto Diet

Are you following a keto diet, and having trouble falling asleep? At night, do you feel tired, but wired at the same time? You are not alone. And it can be the push that causes you to throw away all of your hard work of achieving ketosis. But before you throw in the towel, let's see if there is something we can do to help you beat this keto diet insomnia. Here are a few tips that may help with your ketogenic diet insomnia. Give them a try! It is possible that your circadian rhythm may be disrupted. Circadian rhythm is a natural, internal system, that signals the release of either cortisol (upon waking), and melatonin (at night). It can be thrown off if you are a night shift worker, or you are indoors most of the time. One way to get your circadian rhythm back on track is to get some sunlight on your face and eyes, right when you wake up. This helps elevate serotonin and cortisol, to wake the body up. Spend as much time as you can outside, weather permitting. And dimming the lights at night time to help lower cortisol, and raise melatonin. It's also important to limit exposure to electronics after sunset. Electronic devices put out a light that signals the release of cortisol, much like the sun would. If you have to work at night, there are programs you can download that will change the lighting on your electronics to mimic the sun at sunset. I use f.lux for my laptop, and Night Mode for my phone. Take a magnesium supplement at night. It is a natural muscle relaxer, which may help relieve stress, or help with nighttime muscle cramps that are waking you up. Try taking a hot shower or bath right before bed. Add a couple cups of epsom salt, which contains magnesium, to help relax your muscles and add a couple drops of lavender oil to further your relaxation experience. Avoi Continue reading >>

Common Ketosis Side Effects And Treatments

Common Ketosis Side Effects And Treatments

There are many awesome benefits with come with adopting a low-carb ketogenic diet, such as weight loss, decreased cravings, and even possibly reduce diseases risks. That being said, it’s also good to talk about possible ketosis side effects so you know fully what to expect as you start this new health journey. Not everyone experiences side effects when starting a ketogenic diet, and thankfully, those who do don’t usually experience them for very long. It varies with the individual, but just to make sure all your bases are covered, we’re going to breaking down each possible side effect and go over ways to manage and alleviate them if needed. KETOSIS SIDE EFFECT 1 – Frequent Urination As your body burns through the stored glucose in your liver and muscles within the first day or two of starting a ketogenic diet, you’ll be releasing a lot of water in the process. Plus, your kidneys will start excreting excess sodium as the levels of your circulating insulin drop. Basically, you might notice yourself needing to pee more often throughout the day. But no worries; this side effect of ketosis takes care of itself once your body adjusts and is no longer burning through the extra glycogen. KETOSIS SIDE EFFECT 2 – Dizziness and Drowsiness As the body is getting rid of this excess water, it will also be eliminating minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium too. This can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, and fatigued. Thankfully, this is also very avoidable; all it takes is a little preparation beforehand. Focus on eating foods that are rich in potassium, such as: Leafy greens (aim for at least two cups each day!) Broccoli Dairy Meat, poultry, and fish Avocados Add salt to your foods or use salty broth when cooking too. You can also dissolve about a teaspoon of regu Continue reading >>

What’s Causing Your Insomnia And How To Fix It

What’s Causing Your Insomnia And How To Fix It

Insomnia can turn a normal, happy life into a waking nightmare. We’re not tired enough to sleep at night and too tired to get anything done during the day. Peeking at the list of causes below might reveal a simple, fixable culprit. Insomnia wears many masks. Some sufferers have trouble falling asleep while others drop off right away only to bounce up at 2 am. It makes us irritable enough to bite off loved ones’ heads. It leaves us tired, anxious and depressed. So what makes insomnia tick? In some cases stress is lurking in the wings. In others, diet or bad habits. Medications, medical conditions and aging can also lend a hand. Weapons in the war against the sleep-stealing sickness are changes in diet, daily habits and strategies to manage worry. Do Midnight Snacks Help Cure Insomnia? Midnight snacks definitely don’t cure insomnia. In fact the opposite is true. Eating late wakes up the digestive system and that can jazzercize your brain. Drinking a lot of milk or water before bed creates a double whammy, waking us when the bladder alarm begins to clang. Late eating turns the insomnia crankshaft especially hard in those with heartburn troubles. Lying down on a full stomach gives GERD victims a nighttime case of the burbles. That’s enough to wake up any sleeper. The Best Insomnia Home Remedy: Exercise Not tired? Get tired. Exercise can make us sleep longer and more soundly. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who get at least 20 minutes a day of exercise sleep better. That means a better sleep and a more bright eyed, bushy-tailed feeling during the day. Exercise helps sleep the most when it’s done early. Nighttime workouts are a stimulant that actually works against our peaceful slumber. Don’t just exercise the body either. All kinds of activity Continue reading >>

What Could Cause Extreme Insomnia On A Low Carb Diet?

What Could Cause Extreme Insomnia On A Low Carb Diet?

it happens each time i attempt a ketogenic diet. i eat high-quality foods and that doesn't seem to matter. i also experience tingling arms and legs when trying to sleep on a low carb diet. anyone know what the problem could be? Continue reading >>

Sleepless Nights In The Cave: Insomnia And A Paleo Diet

Sleepless Nights In The Cave: Insomnia And A Paleo Diet

It’s one thing to dutifully block out 8-9 solid hours of downtime every night. If you make it a priority, it’s usually possible to clear that time from your schedule and find a dark room to lie down in. But whether you actually sleep or not isn’t always a matter of conscious control: sometimes you just can’t seem to drop off, no matter how much you know you need the shut-eye. While it’s easy to conclude that if you’re tired but can’t sleep, you must be the crazy one, difficulty getting to sleep or staying to sleep is actually not an uncommon problem, affecting around 15% of the population. Insomnia is clinically divided into two categories: secondary insomnia (which is caused by some other disease or condition) and primary insomnia (which isn’t). While there isn’t any safe and effective medication for either form of insomnia in the long term, eating a healthy diet is one step in the right direction, and several natural remedies are available and effective. Sleep and Biology To understand how insomnia works, it’s very helpful to first have a basic knowledge of how the body regulates sleeping and waking – since we obviously didn’t have alarm clocks for most of human existence, the body must have some kind of natural system for controlling when we fall asleep and how long we stay that way. A natural hormonal cycle keeps healthy people awake and alert during the day, and sleepy at night. Cortisol, the “stress hormone” peaks in the morning to wake you up, while melatonin peaks in the evening to calm you down. This balance of hormones is regulated by two types of neurotransmitters (chemicals that communicate with your brain), inhibitory and excitatory. The main inhibitory neurotransmitters are serotonin and GABA: these are the chemicals that signal Continue reading >>

A Neurologist On Ketone Drinks & What The Ketogenic Diet Can (really) Do For Your Brain

A Neurologist On Ketone Drinks & What The Ketogenic Diet Can (really) Do For Your Brain

Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D. Deciding what to eat for optimal health can be confusing. There are so many different dietary approaches, and each is touted as the most beneficial to our health and waistlines, yet the actual nutrition advice often differs greatly or conflicts. It can be difficult to keep up with all the trends and fads, and sometimes it's hard to know who to trust. I'm often asked for nutritional guidance in my clinic, and recently I've been hearing a lot of questions about the ketogenic diet from my patients. Here's exactly what I tell them. Despite its current surge in popularity, the ketogenic diet has been around for a long time and is commonly used for refractory seizure disorders (epilepsy). In fact, evidence of its efficacy for epilepsy dates back as far as 1921. There are many different types of the ketogenic diet,including the classic version, the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) diet, the modified Atkins diet, and the low-glycemic diet. Because fasting is a rapid method of achieving ketosis, intermittent fasting diets can also be ketogenic depending on how it's accomplished. But what is ketosis? Here are five simple scientific facts that I often give to my patients: 1. In ketosis, human metabolism switches its main energy source from carbohydrates to fatty acids and ketones once the storage form of glucose (glucagon) is used up. 2. In ketosis, the fat cells break down triglycerides into fatty acids, and those fatty acids are used as the energy source by the liver and muscles. 3. The liver cells take the fatty acids and oxidize them into ketones, which are used as the energy source by the brain, muscles, and other tissues. 4. Ketones are in the specific forms acetoacetate, acetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Therefore, checking beta-hydroxybutyrate seru Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diet & Sleep Problems: How Are Carbohydrates And Ketosis Associated With Disturbed Sleep?

Ketogenic Diet & Sleep Problems: How Are Carbohydrates And Ketosis Associated With Disturbed Sleep?

A diet which is rich in fat and low in proteins and carbohydrates is called a ketogenic diet. Going on a ketogenic diet is one of the ways people revert to in order to achieve quick weight loss. While ketogenic diet can have adverse consequences to a person's well being, it can also lead to sleep deprivation or insomnia over a period of time. Consumption of carbohydrates is vital for the body that not only keeps the energy equilibrium maintained, but also plays a role in your quality of sleep. If you are planning to adopt ketogenic diet then beware my friend of the complications it can have in the long run over your sleep cycle! Maintaining a good body is essential, but it should not compromise with your sleep which is vital for your health and well being. Herein, we break down some valuable information on how ketogenic diet can be associated with sleep disturbances and how it can be managed. A diet which is rich in fat and low in proteins and carbohydrates is called a ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are called storehouse of energy as their breakdown results in enormous energy released by the body needed for performing its functions. In absence of these dietary carbs, the glycogen and fat is broken down thereby causing enormous loss of weight. It is during fat breakdown that causes release of ketones in blood also known as ketosis. The weight loss of a person of a ketogenic diet can be sudden and high in intensity often causing euphoric feeling, but leading to sleep problems over a period of time. Known to cause a soothing effect on the body, carbohydrates are often referred to as "comfort foods" in dietary terms. These carbs are responsible for maintaining steady glucose supply, maintaining energy equilibrium and at the same time keeping the protein balance in the brain. Continue reading >>

The Effects Of The Ketogenic Diet On Behavior And Cognition

The Effects Of The Ketogenic Diet On Behavior And Cognition

Go to: Experimental animal findings Ketogenic diet and seizure models Application of the KD to multiple animal epilepsy models has demonstrated therapeutic effects, e.g. KDs can increase induced-seizure threshold, delay seizure development, attenuate seizure risk and decrease the seizure severity (Maalouf et al., 2009; Todorova et al., 2000; Xu et al., 2006; Mantis et al., 2004). While careful attention has been paid to the effects of KD upon seizure activity, less is known about its effects upon cognition. Neuroprotective capacity of the ketogenic diet Data are available that suggest that the KD has neuroprotective effects that could be applied beyond its treatment for epileptic conditions. Several studies have demonstrated that KDs can enhance cognitive function in both pathophysiological and normal healthy experimental animal systems (Appelberg et al., 2009; Xu et al., 2010). For example, KDs were able to improve the motor coordination and cognition recovery in young rats suffering from traumatic brain injury (Appelberg et al., 2009). Pro-cognitive and memory enhancement effects of KDs have been demonstrated in normal, healthy, aged rats and to a lesser extent in young rats, suggesting that age may not be a confound for KD use (Xu et al., 2010). In a murine model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in which mice express a mutated human amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgene, KDs have been shown to attenuate the production and accumulation of the cytotoxic proteolytic products of APP, i.e. amyloid-β 40/42, that are thought to underlie the etiology of AD (Van dA et al., 2005). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig’s disease), like AD, is a neurodegenerative disorder often linked to oxidative stress of neurons. Murine models of ALS, in which transgenic mice pos Continue reading >>

Insomnia

Insomnia

There is nothing like a good night’s sleep. It gives us the feeling of being refreshed and ready for the new day. Poor sleeping patterns contribute to depression and wide spread chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Insomnia robs us of our ability to replenish our reserves so that we can remain resilient in the face of stress. Our body repairs and replenishes itself every night while asleep. We require a restful night’s sleep in order to build reserves to tackle the tasks of the day and to keep our immune system strong. Many of us occasionally suffer from a restless night. We toss and turn or wake early unable to return to sleep again. Some of us are losing sleep on a regular basis. If we are not able to have restful sleep it can lead to exhaustion, anxiety or depression and a feeling of being ‘wired and tired’. Problems with sleep can include not being able to fall asleep, waking many times during the night, and simply waking too early. There are many reasons for poor sleep. They include stress and anxiety, the use of stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, and poor sleep hygiene. Watching the evening news before going to bed is not helpful. Medical causes of insomnia include depression, hormonal imbalance, COPD, congestive heart failure, sleep apnea and chronic pain. Many medications that people are on can also lead to insomnia. High levels of cortisol or norepinephrine will prevent sleep. These are hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Stress can cause the adrenals to become over stimulated and produce too many hormones. Food allergies, such as to dairy, wheat and eggs, can also elevate levels of cortisol. If we have poor digestion or hidden infections we may have high levels of acetaldehyde or lactic acid in our blood which can act as i Continue reading >>

How Does Ketosis Cause Insomnia

How Does Ketosis Cause Insomnia

The first thing you might ask with this topic is what ketosis is. This term refers to our bodies using fat for energy. This means that your energy consumption is larger than your intake of carbohydrates in your food. Therefore, you have elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood. If you are on a low carbohydrate diet you are likely to enter a state of ketosis. Then your body uses the carbohydrates from your body fat for energy. Epilepsy is sometimes treated with ketonic diet but low carbohydrate diets for weight loss are not usually recommended because they have negative effects on the health of the dieter. Diagnosis of Ketosis You can test if your body is in a state of ketosis from urine with the aid of Ketostix test strips. You also are likely to have a fruity breath if you are in a state of ketosis. Ketosis Insomnia Many people who have undergone ketosis because of dieting or other treatment have noted that there is an elevated risk of suffering from insomnia during ketosis. The insomnia is caused at least for some people by the low carbohydrate diet. What we eat has often an effect on how we sleep and, therefore, what we take away from our diet is also something that can affect sleep. Carbohydrates have a sleep inducing effect on some people. This is why taking away foods rich in carbohydrates can make it more difficult for you to sleep. If you have gotten used to eating sleep inducing food at bedtime it is easy to see why insomnia might be the result of dietary shifts. What to do with Ketosis Insomnia Ketosis is not a recommendable option for weight loss. If it causes insomnia too, it might be time to reconsider the diet. Talk it over with a qualified doctor in order to know if ketosis is a preferable option for you. Continue reading >>

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