Many people consider the keto diet a popular option for weight loss. Keto dieters reduce the intake of simple carbohydrates such as sugar, white bread, and pasta, tailoring meals to include moderate protein and higher fat. This way, your body should tap into fat stores for energy and help you lose weight.
Eating plans also impact other aspects of your life. For example, some people experience a condition called “keto insomnia” on this program. Wait—how does trying to lose weight make getting a good night’s rest harder? Ugh! Let’s take a closer look at how keto affects sleep.
How does keto affect sleep?
Author Lisa Richards, CNC, is a nutritionist and founder of The Candida Diet. She says a ketogenic plan is designed to put the body into a state of ketosis and explains how it works:
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the body and then used as fuel.
When carbs are significantly reduced, as with keto, the body turns from relying on its preferred source of energy, carbohydrates, to relying on fat.
As the body burns through its stored glucose in the form of glycogen, it then turns to fat.
As the body breaks down fat, it produces ketones, and this is what will then be used in place of glucose.
The National Library of Medicine states that on average, the dietary macronutrients—like fat, protein, and carbohydrates—for a ketogenic diet “are divided into approximately 55–60 percent fat, 30–35 percent protein, and 5–10 percent carbohydrates.” Because carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of fuel and energy, Richards says, a lack of them in a keto diet means very little glucose circulates through the body.
“[It] helps the body produce L-tryptophan, the amino acid responsible for production of the relaxation hormone serotonin. As the body prepares for sleep, this hormone turns into melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep,” she adds.
Unfortunately, there are few other foods which contain natural melatonin. This means some people find it difficult to adjust their rest cycles without carbohydrates priming that all-important sleep-inducing process.
Can the keto diet cause insomnia?
While some studies…