How Good Is Intermittent Fasting For Sleep?
In a time where a plethora of different diet trends like calorie counting, ketosis, and other fad diets are sweeping the nation, intermittent fasting stands out. It isn’t a trend but a lifestyle change and has many more benefits than just the obvious weight loss. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting is also good for your sleep schedule.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
During intermittent fasting, you can only eat during certain times of the day. Fasting for a specific number of hours each day or eating just one meal a couple of days a week can help your body burn fat. And scientific evidence points to some health benefits, as well.
One of the greatest benefits of intermittent fasting is its scientifically proven positive effects on your sleep schedule. Beyond just helping with weight loss patients in several studies focusing on the effects of intermittent fasting reported having an easier time both falling and staying asleep. Another good thing about intermittent fasting is that it is a highly variable process and can be switched up depending on each individual’s daily routine. Making intermittent fasting the convenient, logical option for people with a packed schedule.
Here is a common approach to intermittent fasting; the daily approach, which restricts daily eating to one six- to eight-hour period each day. This approach is rather popular with newcomers to fasting or even dieting in general because it is easier for beginners to adjust to. Taking it one day at a time rather than making an ambitious fasting schedule that may leave them feeling overwhelmed.
Why Do Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting offers numerous health benefits including; weight loss, improved mood, better sleeping habits, increased energy, and even reduced blood sugar levels. Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching. Intermittent fasting may be recent, but fasting itself is in no way a new concept. The idea of fasting in general dates back centuries. Most fasting practices are associated with religious beliefs and traditions. For example, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset during Ramadan. During Yom Kippur, those who practice the Jewish religion fast for 25 hours, and Christians fast during Lent.
Intermittent Fasting’s Effects on Sleep
In a recent study by the National Library of Medicine, subjects reported a 23% increase in nightly restful sleep. Certain studies show that intermittent fasting may improve sleep by balancing your body’s circadian rhythm. This rhythm, also known as your sleep-wake cycle, is responsible for a lot of bodily functions including metabolism, appetite, and sleep. Your circadian rhythm is regulated by the sunrise and sunset. In one study of healthy adults, participants found that their sleep quality improved on several levels after a week of intermittent fasting. They were less likely to wake up during the night, and they moved less as they slept, so their sleep was more restful.
On a slightly less positive note, you can actually have sleep issues while intermittent fasting depending on the timing of your meals. When people eat at irregular times, it can disrupt their sleep. This is especially true if they eat late at night. Some participants in intermittent fasting a have reported difficulty getting to sleep, insomnia, and disrupted non restful sleep. However, this can be easily avoided if you follow the correct steps. Eating too far away from the usual time you go to bed can cause you to attempt to go to sleep while having hunger pains, which is not conducive to a restful sleep. On the other hand, if you eat too close to the time you usually go to sleep you will have increased difficulty actually getting to sleep since your body’s temperature rises after you eat. Which is the opposite of what you want when trying to get some rest.
Another way to avoid having insomnia while doing intermittent fasting is ensuring that beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have been properly hydrating yourself. Drinking more water can help you with hunger pangs, which will help regulate your appetite while intermittent fasting. Dehydration is never a good thing, especially when your body is busy adjusting itself to a new diet. A good time frame is to eat at least 3 hours before bed which gives your body time to digest and process your food before shutting down for the night. Of course, as previously stated the time frame is adjustable to each individual’s needs.