Stress, Sleep, and Keto.
It’s late… you’re tired….it’s been a long day…..you have a million things on your plate and counting sheep just isn’t cutting it. Insomnia is a common problem for those who eat in the Ketogenic way. And since lack of sleep causes stress and stress makes it harder to get to sleep, it can feel like a never ending merry go round. When you first start a Keto way of eating, you may experience insomnia as your body switches to burning fat for energy instead of carbs.
The International League Against Epilepsy published a study that said while the ketogenic diet may decrease the amount of time you sleep, the quality of that sleep is increased, including REM sleep. Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. Lack of sleep slows the metabolism. Which can stall your Keto weight loss. The researchers at the University of Chicago said that sleep deprivation can make you “metabolically groggy”. Within just four days of lack of sleep your body’s ability to process insulin goes awry.
The hunger hormones in your body.
Leptin and Ghrelin are the hunger hormones in your body. Ghrelin signals your brain that it is time to eat. And Leptin tells your brain to stop eating. But when you aren’t getting enough sleep, Leptin levels crash, signaling your brain to eat more. This leads to overeating and weight gain.
Then there is Cortisol. When you are lacking in sleep, your cortisol spikes and tells your body to conserve energy. Therefore storing fat instead of burning it for fuel. Cortisol is a hormone in the body classified as a steroid. It plays an important part in the regulation of metabolism and how the body responds to stress. Cortisol spikes can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, poor sleep, and insulin resistance. When you are insulin resistant, your body has trouble processing fats, so it stores them and again you gain weight.
The Endocannabinoid system are the lipids that are responsible for a range of physiological processes in our bodies, including appetite control. When you are sleep deprived, you produce more of these lipids which are responsible for making eating a pleasurable experience. So you eat more and once again you gain weight.
What can you do to get better sleep.
But fear not, there are things you can do to stop this vicious cycle. Try to avoid spiking your insulin before bedtime. If think you may have eaten something that might spike your insulin, have two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in some water before you go to bed. Make sure you are getting enough magnesium. Magnesium not only encourages the body to relax and sleep but it also plays a key role in regulating your bodies stress response. It also helps prevent night time leg cramps.
Create a bedtime routine for yourself. Things like turning off all electronics, making sure your bedroom is dark and cool and try to stick to a regular bedtime. If you need to use a light, try using a sleep light.
Try engaging in journal writing before bed can help your mind let go of the day’s troubles and help you to relax. Perhaps reading spiritual literature, praying, doing yoga or meditation before bed will bring you the peace and clarity of mind that will help you to relax and drift off to sleep. Aromatherapy essential oils can have a wonderful calming effect.
Sometimes restful sounds of the ocean, rainfall or even white noise from a sleep noise machine can make it easier to sleep. I have one myself and I find it very relaxing. Taking some “me time” every day is an important part of self care. So remember, take care of your sleep and your sleep will take care of you….sweet dreams.