A keto diet plan can come with a whole litany of benefits, including more energy and clearer thinking. Not to mention the obvious weight loss. At the same time, a keto diet can come with unpleasant side-effects in an adjustment period called the ‘keto flu’. One of the most common complaints among keto beginners is insomnia. And there’s a scientific explanation for this, too.
But sleepless nights don’t have to be the norm on a keto diet plan. Read on to discover our best tips for sleeping soundly all night long!
How ketosis effects sleep
There’s still a lot we don’t know about ketosis and sleep. The scientific studies that exist are often contradictory and confusing. Some studies find no clear connection between ketosis and insomnia, while others suggest that a ketogenic diet can actually improve sleep quality. Nevertheless, sleepless nights are a common complaint from keto beginners as they adjust to their new lifestyle. Here’s one explanation for why that might be.
As we all know, ketosis changes the way your body runs. When ketosis kicks in, your body trades glucose for ketones as its primary fuel source. This drastic reduction in carbs is responsible for the rapid weight-loss that keto dieters love. But because ketosis also raises your metabolism, the extra energy may make it tougher to fall asleep at night.
That might sound like a dream come true for night owls, but inadequate sleep can actually inhibit your weight loss efforts. To maximize the benefits of your keto diet plan, here are some tips for getting a good night’s rest!
1: Balance your electrolytes
When you severely restrict your carbs on a diet plan like keto, your insulin levels go way down. That’s awesome for weight loss, but not so much for retaining electrolytes.
Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium and magnesium. They’re vital for key functions in your body, like muscle contractions and rebuilding damaged tissue. The low insulin levels associated with a keto diet lead your kidneys to deplete them more rapidly, which can leave you with an electrolyte imbalance. That can worsen symptoms of the keto flu and lead to a poor night’s sleep.
Consider making electrolyte supplements or drinks a part of your daily routine. Magnesium is especially important for regulating your sleep schedule. It’s called the ‘calming mineral’ for a reason. Try taking a supplement before bed for a peaceful night’s rest. You can even treat yourself to an Epsom salt bath for the same calming effect!
2: Lay off the caffeine
Bulletproof coffee is currently one of the hottest trends in the keto dieting scene. This unlikely combo of coffee and grass-fed butter has swept the internet by storm. Keto dieters all over the globe are enamored with the extra energy brought on from the healthy fat and caffeine. But as it turns out, you can have too much of a good thing.
Although keto-friendly beverages like coffee and green tea are amazing for a quick boost of energy, too much caffeine can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. Your bulletproof coffee addiction might just be the cause of your keto insomnia.
To catch up on your zzz’s, try dialing back your caffeine servings or cut them out altogether. If you absolutely have to have your coffee fix, that’s totally cool. Just try to indulge earlier in the day to keep the caffeine from interfering with bedtime.
3: Exercise early in the day
Thanks to the high energy levels brought on by a keto diet, Ketosis and exercise are a perfect combo. They go together like butter and coffee. Or butter and broccoli. Or butter and everything in life…
The point is, if you don’t already have a workout plan to go along with your keto diet, now is the perfect time to start. Not only is exercise an excellent addition for your ketosis-induced weight loss plan, but a hard workout can also improve your sleep quality.
You don’t have to do anything crazy. Even a 20-minute walk or a bike ride outside can do the trick. Just try to do it earlier in the day to avoid getting worked up right before bed. Remember to supplement your electrolytes, too. Especially if your workout was a hard one.
4: Try bumping up your carb intake
This tip may seem counterintuitive, since the goal of a keto diet is to avoid carbs. But think about it: if your insomnia is caused by a lack of carbs, then the solution for a better night’s sleep may be… eating more carbs.
If you’ve been clocking in at under 20 grams of carbs per day, try bumping it up to 25 or even 30. These extra carbohydrates might just give your body what it needs for a good night’s rest. Just make sure that you’re eating healthy carbs like vegetables, fruits, or organic dairy products. No refined sugar or processed foods.
5: Give it time
It takes a while to adjust to any new diet plan, especially one as restrictive as the keto diet. In some cases, curing your keto insomnia may simply be a matter of time.
Remember those studies we talked about earlier? Most of them found that the negative side effects of keto, including keto insomnia, disappear after the first two weeks. Researchers also found that although keto dieters tend to clock in fewer hours of sleep on average, their sleep quality may actually be better than their non-keto counterparts. Your sleep quality can also improve with weight-loss, which is only a matter of time for most keto dieters.
Although sleepless nights can be rough, they won’t last forever. Try to hang in there if you’re still in the early stages of your weight-loss journey. Once you get past the initial hurdle, your sleep quality may improve in the long run. And don’t sweat it if you need to eat more carbs to adjust! A keto diet is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and full of energy. Just be patient and give it time for the benefits to kick in.