I hope you are reading this during normal waking hours and not at 3:30 in the morning like the title might imply. It is a somewhat common occurrence for people to report having insomnia in the first two to four weeks of starting a ketogenic diet. It can be hard to stop thinking of how great you’ll look when you can fit back into your favorite jeans or how happy you’ll be to see your doctor and get a good report next time! But the reason for your insomnia is likely not just mental. There may be some biological reasons for this as well.
I had a brief bout with insomnia about 2 – 3 weeks in to first starting to eat keto. I had gone through the couple days of keto flu like I shared in Dealing with the Keto Flu, and about a week later I started to feel wired at night and had a hard time getting to sleep (or getting back to sleep if I awoke in the middle of the night). Some people attribute this to the additional energy you start to feel having cut out the sugars and carbs that dull your senses and cause you to breakout. This is probably partially true.
However, you are probably also dealing with some other issues. One key factor could be that you are low on a particular electrolyte (as I shared in the Keto Flu post…click on the link above to read it 🙂 I started taking a magnesium supplement and immediately felt an improvement. Some people report doing an Epsom salt foot bath at night that really helps. It makes sense as magnesium is a key ingredient in epsom salt and how could a foot bath not be relaxing?
Another key factor is that many increase their intake of coffee as they have cut out sodas and other flavored beverages and are getting bored just drinking water all the time. You may consider scaling back if this is you. It’s best to keep to one to two cups of coffee earlier in the day. It seems that many are more sensitive to coffee when doing keto.
A quick side note: I recently found the same sensitivity to drinking alcohol. I’d been eating keto for about a month and went to a mixer where I had a couple of beers. This was the first alcohol I’d tasted in over a month. I’ve been a big guy for a long time so normally I wouldn’t feel any effects until I’d had at least a half dozen or more. This was not true on keto. I started feeling the effects by the start of my second drink. Don’t worry I didn’t drive home for hours later, but I did find a way to finally realize my lifelong goal of being a cheap drunk 😛 (just kidding Mom)
An often overlooked factor may be that your calcium intake is low. It’s easy to eat a bunch of meat and greens on keto without getting much calcium. I’ve eaten a sharp cheddar cheese stick when I was wired and found my eyes getting heavy within 15 minutes or so.
If you’ve taken care of the above and your still dealing with insomnia, its probably a good time to review some other articles on sleep hygiene (blue light, melatonin, etc.) and schedule a visit with your doctor.
I certainly hope this helps anyone dealing with losing sleep. It’s not a sustainable condition and IF (intermittent fasting) is a lot easier when you can count hours of fasting while you’re sleeping 🙂
Please like, share and comment below. I’d love to hear any suggestions you might have for getting the best night’s sleep. Thanks and have a good one!