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How Going Keto Can Improve Your Sleep Quality

Published January 31, 2019 (Revised: July 27, 2019)
<article> <section> <p>We hear that sleep quality is important for our health and wellness. But when you ask someone to be more specific about <i>why</i>, they don’t usually have answers.</p> <p>It’s true that sleep is important—you can prevent disease and improve your quality of life by emphasizing it. But it’s just as important that you know that not all sleep is created equal. There is Stage 1 and 2 sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep, all of which mean something different for your health.</p> <p>It’s also important to know that other factors can help you sleep better. The keto diet, along with other diets low in carbs, have been proven to improve sleep quality and may even reduce the number of hours you need to sleep.</p> <p>So clearly there’s a lot to talk about in terms of your head on the pillow. Here’s why sleep is important, and how staying in ketosis can improve your sleep quality.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Why is Sleep Quality Important?</header> <p>Sleep quality is important because not all sleep is created equal—just because you sleep for eight hours on a given night doesn’t guarantee a good night sleep.</p> <p>There are actually five stages of sleep that happen throughout the night, restarting approximately every ninety minutes <sup>1</sup>. Let’s break them down.</p> <div class="sub-head">Stage 1:</div> <p>In Stage 1, you’re transitioning between still being slightly awake and falling asleep. Heart rate and breathing slow, and muscles relax, sometimes even twitch.</p> <p>Stage 1 only lasts a few minutes.</p> <div class="sub-head">Stage 2:</div> <p>About forty-five minutes (50 percent) of a ninety-minute sleep cycle is spent in Stage 2 sleep. Body systems continue to relax and core temperature drops.</p> <p>Some rest and recovery happens here, but Stage 2 is not as restful as the next stages.</p> <div class="sub-head">Stage 3 and 4 (Deep Sleep):</div> <p>Muscles are completely relaxed and your heartbeat and breathing are at their slowest. Brain activity is minimal in this stage, whereas glimpses of brain waves are present in the previous stages.</p> <p>These are the stages where you experience deep sleep. Your body is in full rest and relaxation mode. In fact, if you’ve ever been awoken from your slumber and felt quite groggy, you were probably in deep sleep. This stage is also known as <i>delta sleep</i>.</p> <p>The next section explains why deep sleep is so beneficial for you.</p> <div class="sub-head">Stage 5 (REM):</div> <p>REM sleep happens at the end of a ninety-minute cycle. About 25 percent of your night’s sleep is spent in REM sleep, the other three quarters being spent between Stages 1 to 4.</p> <p>In REM sleep, you start to wake up, have dreams, and return to a more wakeful state.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="girl-sleeping-in-bed-0065"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Benefits of Deep Sleep</header> <p>Sleep Stages 3 and 4, deep sleep or delta sleep are the most important sleep minutes of your night. It’s during this time that memory and learning are supported through glucose metabolism and important hormones are secreted. If you’re trying to add lean muscle, this is particularly important.</p> <p>This is also the time when cells regenerate, tissues heal, and immune function is restored.</p> <p>If you’ve read studies over the past few years about people saying how important it is to sleep, they are actually referencing the need for more deep sleep. Since a sleep cycle lasts about ninety minutes, getting only six hours of sleep could mean one less cycle of deep sleep versus getting seven or eight.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Sleep and Weight Los</header> <p>Because many of you reading this are in the middle of your body transformation, this particular benefit of quality sleep gets its own heading.</p> </p>A good night’s sleep can help you lose weight, both directly and indirectly<sup>2</sup>.</p> <p>Indirectly, you may be too tired to make a <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">healthy breakfast </a> that’s low in carbs, or work out, even if you’re doing it in your <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">living room</a>.</p> <p>Directly, a sleepy brain is actually an impaired brain, scientifically proven to make worse decisions than a well-rested brain<sup>2</sup>. You’re more likely to feel hungry, reach for sugary treats, skip a workout, or be angry or emotional when you’re brain isn’t rested<sup>3</sup>.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="stressed-man-outside-0065"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?</header> <p>It’s no understatement to say you’re playing with fire if you aren’t getting enough sleep. Especially if you are <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">exercising</a> and eating a healthy diet, there’s a ton of research linking lack of sleep to illness, quality of life problems, and chronic disease.</p> <p>Sleep is when your tissues heal, information from the previous day is processed, and the brain prepares for another sixteen hours of activity. Sleep deprivation is also a recipe for stress and anxiety as well as poor decision-making.</p> <p>Diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke have all been linked to not getting enough quality sleep.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>How Much Deep Sleep Do You Need?</header> <p>Studies show anywhere between 13 and 23 percent of your sleeping hours are spent in deep sleep. As you get older, that number tends to decline<sup>4</sup>. In your twenties, two or more hours of deep sleep is possible per night. Sixty-year-olds may get thirty minutes of deep sleep or none at all.</p> <p>There’s no required number of deep sleep hours, but keep in mind that this is when important bodily functions like healing of tissues and regeneration of cells take place as well as enhancing memory and stored learning.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep</header> <p>If you’re feeling exhausted, getting sick often, and not feeling energized by your workouts, you may not be getting enough quality sleep.</p> <p>Many wearable devices like FitBit or Apple Watch can identify your sleep patterns, but research is still new on how well they can determine your sleep quality.</p> <p>Now let’s take a look at how the keto diet and sleep are linked.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Keto Diet and Sleeping</header> <p>The <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">ketogenic diet</a>—the Warrior Made-approved, highly effective, low-carb diet that turns you into a fat-burning machine―is also linked to sleep. And it may not be in the way you think.</p> <p>When you stop eating carbs and get into ketosis, you may actually have trouble sleeping or have bouts of insomnia<sup>5</sup>. Like the keto flu, these symptoms go away after your body adjusts to the new diet.</p> <p>Here’s the kicker: after your body adjusts, you may actually sleep better by eating less carbs on a diet like keto, especially if you cease eating well before bedtime<sup>6</sup>. (Sounds like a good excuse to start <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">intermittent fasting</a>, right?)</p> <p>Some long-term keto dieters reported that their need for sleep dropped by an hour or more after switching to a low-carb diet.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="girl-on-bed-up-at-night-0065"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Keto Diet and Insomnia</header> <p>As your body adjusts to ketosis, you may find yourself tossing and turning. This is because carbohydrates supply the body with glucose, which plays a role in serotonin production and the amino acid entry in the brain. These are both key to helping your body calm down at night. Some time is required for the body to adjust to the lack of carbs.</p> <p>Long story short, without carbs, your body initially can’t calm down. But as your brain gets used to <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">staying in ketosis</a>, this problem goes away.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>How Do Low-Carb Diets Help Promote Sleep?</header> <p>The research is new in this area, but many report sleeping less and getting more deep sleep after adjusting to a low-carb diet<sup>7</sup>.</p> <p>This could have to do with blood glucose levels fluctuating less and more consistent energy throughout the day, but so far, most evidence is from actual dieters, not scientists.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>5 Tips for Better Sleep</header> <p><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Eating fewer carbs</a> has been linked to improved sleep quality<sup>8</sup>. Because we love ketosis for so many other things like weight loss, reduced inflammation, and more energy, we want to highlight this first.</p> <p>Besides keto, here are five more tips for getting restful sleep.</p> <div class="sub-head">1. Make a Schedule</div> <p>The body has its own internal clock called your <i>circadian rhythm</i><sup>9</sup>. This clock will adjust based on your schedule, which is how an overnight nurse gets used to sleeping during the day.</p> <p>If you go to bed at the same time each night, your body will come to know that sleep is on its way.</p> <div class="sub-head">2. Exercise Regularly</div> <p>We can’t overstate enough how important exercise is for quality sleep (among other things).</p> <p>When we exercise, our core temperature rises. Studies show that the drop off, or return to normal, from that elevated temperature helps promote quality sleep<sup>10</sup>. Plus a good workout will give your muscles a reason to want to lie down.</p> <p>For some simple but powerful at-home workouts, check out our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">exercise page</a> and <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">YouTube channel </a>.</p> <div class="sub-head">3. Create a Bedtime Routine</div> <p>Along the lines of the first tip, having a set routine for bed sends signals to your brain and body that rest time is impending. Even twenty or thirty minutes of reading, showering, stretching, or other low-key activities each night before bed will help prime your mind for restful sleep.</p> <div class="sub-head">4. No Afternoon Coffee</div> <p>Everyone’s body responds differently to caffeine. Some people might have a cup before bed and be fine, while others can’t have any after 10 a.m. if they want to sleep that night. It depends on your tolerance.</p> <p>Caffeine has a half-life of about six hours<sup>11</sup>. This means that if you ingest 150 milligrams of caffeine (about the serving in a cup of Starbucks coffee) at noon, seventy-five milligrams of it will still be present at 6 p.m.</p> <p>We love coffee as a keto-approved drink (especially with <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">butter in it</a>), but consider switching to tea or water in the afternoon for better sleep.</p> <div class="sub-head">5. Supplement</div> <p>Sleep-enhancing supplements are an effective way to get better sleep. Unlike other supplements, they aren’t super expensive and are easy to use—just take them twenty to thirty minutes before bed.</p> <p>Warrior Made’s <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Sleep Support</a> supplement contains healthy herbs like valerian and chamomile as well as a melatonin to calm you down, increase serotonin (the happy hormone) levels, lower stress and cortisol, and increase your sleep quality.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Sleep and Health: Too Important to Ignore</header> <p>Sleep quality is an important component of your health. It’s one of only a few areas of your health that is both free and totally within your control at any time. Just remember that not all sleep is created equal, that deep sleep and REM sleep are not the same thing, and that other factors besides the number of hours spent lying down matter.</p> <p>Whether you drink a little less coffee, drop the carbs a little lower, or try a supplement like <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Sleep Support</a>, you’ll be doing yourself (and your <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">body transformation</a>) a huge favor by making quality time with your pillow an important part of your lifestyle. Your body may have to adjust, but once the insomnia goes away, you may be able to sleep less and still feel great.</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> What Is Deep Sleep and Why Is It Important?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href=" rel="noreferrer""> Sleep More, Weigh Less</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> How much deep sleep do you need?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> 10 Signs and Symptoms That You're in Ketosis</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> Ketogenic Diet Improves Sleep Quality in Children with Therapy</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> Tips for better sleep</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> What is Circadian Rhythm?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> How Does Exercise Help Those With Chronic Insomnia?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"> Caffeine Pharmacology</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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