One health trend that's rapidly grown in popularity is the ketogenic diet — or simply keto. Whether you're doing it yourself or know a friend or celebrity who's trying it, the keto diet can have positive effects on your weight, skin, and mental health, along with several other benefits. But what impact does it have on sleep?
Keep reading to get an overview of the ketogenic diet and the potential effects it may have once you go to bed.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
There are three different sources of fuel our bodies use for energy: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The concept behind the keto diet is that you're significantly reducing your carb intake and replacing it with fat. This extreme carb decrease causes your body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis. In this phase, fat becomes your primary source of energy. Additionally, your liver produces an abundance of ketones, providing energy for your brain. Ketosis can help reduce insulin and blood sugar levels, which can lead to weight loss and lower blood pressure.
Short-Term Effects of Keto: Interrupted Sleep and Insomnia are Possible
When you first start the keto diet, you might experience interrupted sleep or insomnia. The body's transition from carbohydrates to protein and fat could be the reason for these sleep issues. For one, carbs boost levels of the amino acid L-tryptophan in your brain. This neurotransmitter contributes to the production of serotonin, a key chemical responsible for stabilizing mood and producing the sleep hormone melatonin. Conversely, protein enhances levels of tyrosine. This amino acid facilitates the production of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are brain-stimulating chemicals.
As a result, this combination of reducing serotonin and boosting brain-stimulating chemicals may hinder your ability to fall asleep or get a good night's rest. If this is the case, you'll likely benefit from the cloud-like comfort of the SHEEX Original Performance Mattress Pad which can help soothe you into a deep and restful night's sleep.
In the Long Run, Keto May Improve Sleep Quality
Once your body has gone through enough time to adjust to keto, your new diet can enhance your overall sleep quality. A study involving epileptic children suggests ketogenic diets may increase REM sleep — the stage where your body becomes relaxed and dreams occur. Other research shows ketogenic diets may promote adenosine activity. Adenosine is a brain chemical important for sleep regulation because, in normal conditions, it promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. It may also help alleviate the nervous system and reduce inflammation.
The Bottom Line
Whether you're on or interested in trying keto, diets can have an impact on your sleep — and vice versa. Everyone's bodies are different, so it's important to talk to your doctor before starting the ketogenic diet.
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