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Why Does Ketosis Cause Insomnia

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 >>

The Ketogenic Diet's Effect On Cortisol Metabolism

The Ketogenic Diet's Effect On Cortisol Metabolism

(Related post: Red Light, Green Light: responses to cortisol levels in keto vs. longevity research) One of the myths surrounding ketogenic diets comes from misunderstanding the role of cortisol — the "stress hormone". In a previous post, we addressed one of the arguments behind this myth: the idea that to activate gluconeogenesis (to make glucose out of protein), extra cortisol must be recruited. That is just factually incorrect, as we showed in the post. The other argument, which we address here, is more complex. Like the previous cortisol myth, it involves a faulty chain of reasoning. Here are the steps: Ketogenic diets may raise certain measures of cortisol. Chronically elevated cortisol is correlated with metabolic sydrome, and therefore higher cortisol measures may indicate the onset of metabolic syndrome. Therefore, ketogenic diets could cause metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a terrible and prevalent problem today. It is that cluster of symptoms most strongly identified with diabetes — excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar, and a particular cholesterol profile — but also correlated with other life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and cancer. In this post, we're going to explain some of the specifics of cortisol metabolism. We'll show how this argument is vague, and how clarifying it leads to the opposite conclusion. The confusion may all stem from misunderstanding one important fact: different measures of cortisol are not equivalent. First, though, there is an important reason why the argument doesn't make sense. We already know that a ketogenic diet effectively treats metabolic syndrome. As we will describe below, it turns out that certain cortisol patterns are strongly linked to metabolic syndrome, and might even be a cause of metabol Continue reading >>

Keto Talk (episode 28): Cardiomyopathy, Nusi Hall Study, Diet Soda, Insomnia, High Blood Pressure On Keto

Keto Talk (episode 28): Cardiomyopathy, Nusi Hall Study, Diet Soda, Insomnia, High Blood Pressure On Keto

THE KETOGENIC COOKBOOK NOW IN U.S. COSTCO STORES If you are interested in the low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat, ketogenic diet, then this is the podcast for you. We zero in exclusively on all the questions people have about how being in a state of nutritional ketosis and the effects it has on your health. There are a lot of myths about keto floating around out there and our two amazing cohosts are shooting them down one at a time. Keto Talk is cohosted by 10-year veteran health podcaster and international bestselling author Jimmy Moore from “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” and Arizona osteopath and certified bariatric physician Dr. Adam Nally from “Doc Muscles” who thoroughly share from their wealth of experience on the ketogenic lifestyle each and every Thursday. We love hearing from our fabulous Ketonian listeners with new questions–send an email to Jimmy at [email protected] And if you’re not already subscribed to the podcast on iTunes and listened to the past episodes, then you can do that and leave a review HERE. Listen in today as Jimmy and Adam deliver some thorough answers to the most pressing ketogenic questions in Episode 28! KEY QUOTE: “If you suddenly turn down the glucose drive (by lowering the carbohydrates consumed) but you leave the protein high enough to stimulate glucagon, you’re gonna stop fat loss but still lose body weight (as water).” — Dr. Adam Nally Here’s what Jimmy and Adam talked about in Episode 28: – Does a ketogenic diet lead to cardiomyopathy? I came across this reference that suggested that a ketogenic diet had been associated with cardiomyopathy: I wonder if you and the Doc have any thoughts on this. Thank you for your great podcast. Barry in the UK – NuSI-funded Study Serves Up Disappointment for the Continue reading >>

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 >>

How I Cured Obesity, Insomnia, Asthma, And Allergies Through Diet Experimentation (nutritional Ketosis)

How I Cured Obesity, Insomnia, Asthma, And Allergies Through Diet Experimentation (nutritional Ketosis)

**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or nutritionist. Do not try this at home. Talk to a doctor before trying any new health routine. If you are going to self experiment, you MUST have studied the scientific literature. Not just blog articles on the internet. If you act on any information in this article you do so at your own risk.** Nutrition Science is in it’s early stages. Don’t get me wrong, medicine is advanced. This is because science is best at proving what doesn’t work, not what does. Nutrition science is about optimal health, harder to prove in the lab. Want an example? First we couldn’t eat eggs because cholesterol was bad. Now we can eat eggs because cholesterol is good. Enjoy this quote from The Skeptical Nutritionist: “Credible nutrition scientists have opposing views on whether omega 6 in vegetable oils is good for heart health. But who is right?” Here is another quote, I can’t remember who it’s from. “Nutrition science is the only science where researchers can hold opposing views, and both can be right.” So what can we do with our diets? I think the worst thing we can do is listen to all the noise that is out there on the internet. I actually think the best thing we can do is experiment on ourselves. EXPERIMENTATION AND OPTIONS. Forget the theory, try it. I will detail my own experimentation below that has yielded impressive results. I have lost 5 kilos so far. Just as important, experimentation leads to lucky accidents. I have, by accident, uncovered two major health issues that no doctor has ever been able to diagnose. These are long-term insomnia and life long hay fever due to allergies. Before I do that though, here is a practical guide for your own diet experimentation: Step 1: Choose a diet. Step 2: Stay on the diet for one month. Ste 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 >>

The Ketogenic Diet And Insomnia

The Ketogenic Diet And Insomnia

Ketogenic diets like the popular Atkins diet cause rapid weight loss by sending the body into a condition known as ketosis. Unfortunately, they may also lead to health problems, including insomnia or poor quality sleep. The relationship between ketosis and insomnia is not fully understood, since much of the evidence for the link is anecdotal, but a better understanding of ketogenic diets and healthy sleep may help you make the right decisions about your weight-loss plan. Speak with your doctor if your insomnia is chronic, and before starting any weight-loss regimen. Video of the Day A ketogenic diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrates and protein. A healthy body burns carbohydrates for energy, so if no dietary carbohydrates are present, it turns to the energy stores glycogen and fat, leading to rapid weight loss. When fat tissues break down, carbon fragments called ketones are released into the blood, causing ketosis. Weight loss can be rapid in the beginning, which may cause the often-reported sense of euphoria and unusually high energy. This may contribute to sleep problems. Insomnia is a difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or a pattern of chronically poor sleep. The condition can be caused by mental states like anxiety or depression, substance abuse, hormonal or lifestyle changes and some medications or illnesses. Dietary factors like caffeine or other stimulants, or changes in diet, can also play a part. Insomnia can often be treated with lifestyle changes like stress reduction, exercise, and quitting caffeine, tobacco and alcohol consumption. Alternative treatments like acupuncture and massage may be helpful. If you suffer from insomnia, see your doctor to rule out any underlying issues. Carbohydrates, Ketosis and Sleep Carbohydrates are often known as Continue reading >>

Sleep+intermittent Fasting

Sleep+intermittent Fasting

Well…today is the first day back in the gym training folks in almost 2 weeks. We took the past 11 days off due to the holidays and upwards of 50% of my time off was spent sleeping! Left to my own devices I will sleep for 9hrs per night and I think that creeps up closer to 10hrs during the winter, especially if I am training hard. Our normal schedule however allows for 7-8hrs of sleep most nights and the mere knowledge that I have an alarm set for 5 or 6 am the following day is enough to make that already too-short-sleep lower quality. This leads to a chronic sleep debt that I realize after some time off, really decreases my quality of life, productivity, happiness and health. Over the past 11 days I naturally followed an intermittent fasting schedule of 16-20 hrs and I felt GREAT. My training was solid, digestion good, mental outlook fantastic. On my normal sleep deprived schedule intermittent fasting tends to make me feel like ass. I drop it in on the weekends a bit but as I get more and more tired the duration of fasting I can TOLERATE tends to get shorter. The key point there is tolerate…once I am sleep deprived I’m not so sure that fasting is helping all that much if at all, whereas if I am rested I have no doubts that the episodic periods of fasting improve my health and well-being. If you are familiar with the book Lights Out! Sleep, Sugar and Survival you will likely understand the importance of not only adequate sleep but also periods of fasting (ketosis) and living in a accordance with our genetics if you want to avoid fun stuff like premature aging, cancer and insulin resistance. Some people like Lights Out, others hate it but the information Wiley and Formby presented continues to be validated and occasionally implemented. A quick google search of Sleep Continue reading >>

Bipolar Disorder And Diet Part Ii: Low Carbohydrate Diets

Bipolar Disorder And Diet Part Ii: Low Carbohydrate Diets

Can food stabilize mood? Is there a diet out there that could prevent mania, mood swings, deep depressions, and uncomfortably anxious and agitated states? Sound far-fetched? Maybe not. Dietary changes can have very powerful effects on brain chemistry. Low carbohydrate diets, in particular, are fascinating. Ketogenic Diets and Epilepsy When most people think of low-carbohydrate diets, they think of weight loss. But did you know that neurologists have been successfully treating severe cases of epilepsy with low-carbohydrate (“ketogenic”) diets for nearly 100 years? Ketogenic diets are specially designed low-carbohydrate diets that typically contain between 60-80% fat, with the remainder consisting of roughly equal amounts of protein and carbohydrate. In most cases, patients in clinical studies were hospitalized children whose seizures could not be controlled with anticonvulsant medications. Yet, with diet alone : Nearly all patients achieve more than a 50% reduction in seizures with 33% experiencing a 90% reduction in seizures and 10 to 15% achieving complete remission from seizures What more powerful evidence could there be for the role of diet in brain chemistry? Not only is this phenomenon remarkable in its own right, but it also has potentially powerful implications for the treatment of a wide variety of neurological disorders. Ketogenic Diets Have Magical Healing Properties All of the following conditions have been shown in animal models or in human studies to improve on a ketogenic diet: Autism Traumatic Brain Injury Alzheimer’s Disease Parkinson’s Disease Brain Cancer Diabetes Prostate Cancer Obesity Chronic Pain/Inflammation Multiple Sclerosis Insomnia/Circadian Rhythm disorders How Do Ketogenic Diets Work? Nobody knows. It is a subject of intense research Continue reading >>

The Atkins Diet May Cause Insomnia

The Atkins Diet May Cause Insomnia

We already know there's a link between body weight and insomnia; now we're finding yet another potential link between your diet and the quality of your sleep. The culprit this time is the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet (officially called the Atkins Nutritional Approach) is a low-carbohydrate diet and this reduced carbohydrate intake is a potential insomnia cause. Although refined carbohydrates reduce the body's supply of vitamin B (used to produce serotonin) and are therefore best avoided, the Atkins diet drastically cuts your intake of all carbohydrates. Unrefined carbohydrates, such as pasta, porridge, brown rice, brown bread and sweet potatoes can actually help stimulate the body's production of serotonin - so by following this diet you're eliminating a major source of tryptophan and serotonin, which are the building blocks of sleep. Therefore if you're an insomniac currently on the Atkins diet, you may want to reassess your dieting options. Source: Mirror Improve your sleep in two weeks: Over 5,000 insomniacs have completed my free insomnia sleep training course and 97% of graduates say they would recommend it to a friend. Learn more here. Last updated: October 6, 2011 Continue reading >>

Eggs And Insomnia

Eggs And Insomnia

It isn’t well known that eggs (large amounts) can cause insomnia nor that caffeine — in special cases — can reduce insomnia. But a reader named BM recently made those discoveries: Back around July 2012, I was trying to improve my diet but I didn’t want to give up my vegetarianism, so I started to eat a LOT of eggs, usually in the range of 10 to 14 per day. Not long after, I started having awful insomnia. I could lie awake all night just unable to fall asleep. There were suddenly just too many thoughts buzzing through my head keeping me up. I assumed that it was a result of ketosis disturbing sleep. I tried reintroducing carbs, but when that didn’t work I gave up on dietary modifications. I started cycling through OTC sleep aids, but I developed tolerance to anticholinergics very quickly. By October 2013, I was going crazy. I couldn’t sleep well. It was making me depressed and seriously impairing my academic performance. I was exhausted constantly, but then I noticed something. I slept better when I consumed a lot of caffeine in the morning. I noticed there was a clear dose dependent relationship between how much caffeine I consumed and how well I slept. I had a hunch that the caffeine was depleting my acetylcholine levels, serving a similar function as OTC anticholinergics like diphenhydramine and kava. I wondered what would happen if I sharply reduced my intake of acetylcholine precursors. A lot of people advertise eggs as “choline packed”, so I cut back to less than 3 per day. Suddenly, I was sleeping much better. Now, it could be something else in the eggs (I’m not really attached to my choline hypothesis), but either way I feel confident blaming them for my sleep troubles. My insomnia returns whenever I start eating them again. I asked him why he h 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 >>

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 >>

10 Signs And Symptoms That You're In Ketosis

10 Signs And Symptoms That You're In Ketosis

The ketogenic diet is a popular, effective way to lose weight and improve health. When followed correctly, this low-carb, high-fat diet will raise blood ketone levels. These provide a new fuel source for your cells, and cause most of the unique health benefits of this diet (1, 2, 3). On a ketogenic diet, your body undergoes many biological adaptions, including a reduction in insulin and increased fat breakdown. When this happens, your liver starts producing large amounts of ketones to supply energy for your brain. However, it can often be hard to know whether you're "in ketosis" or not. Here are 10 common signs and symptoms of ketosis, both positive and negative. People often report bad breath once they reach full ketosis. It's actually a common side effect. Many people on ketogenic diets and similar diets, such as the Atkins diet, report that their breath takes on a fruity smell. This is caused by elevated ketone levels. The specific culprit is acetone, a ketone that exits the body in your urine and breath (4). While this breath may be less than ideal for your social life, it can be a positive sign for your diet. Many ketogenic dieters brush their teeth several times per day, or use sugar-free gum to solve the issue. If you're using gum or other alternatives like sugar-free drinks, check the label for carbs. These may raise your blood sugar levels and reduce ketone levels. The bad breath usually goes away after some time on the diet. It is not a permanent thing. The ketone acetone is partly expelled via your breath, which can cause bad or fruity-smelling breath on a ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diets, along with normal low-carb diets, are highly effective for losing weight (5, 6). As dozens of weight loss studies have shown, you will likely experience both short- and long Continue reading >>

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