Paleo causing sleep problems?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 01, 2013 at 3:04 AM

I am back to nearly 100% paleo after falling off the pale wagon at Thanksgiving. (truth be told Thanksgiving 2011). I am keeping carbs in the range of 75g to 100g a day.

The only problem I am having is I can't sleep through the night. I fall asleep easy enough between 10:00pm and 11:00pm. But then I wake up between 1:00am and 2:00am. I might sleep a little more after that, maybe another 1-1/2 hours.

My total sleeping is not 4.5 to 5.5 hours a night. Before going back to nearly full paleo I was sleeping about 7 hours a night. Sometimes 8 hours.

Is it lower carbs causing sleep problems or if I am nearly 100% pale I don't need that much sleep?



on April 27, 2013
at 03:58 PM

Whats worked for me: 1) Gradually increasing safe starch intake especially on high activity days. 2) When you wake up at 1-2 AM (as I used to wake up at 3-4AM) Immediately take on 30-50 mg oral Pregnenolone this should have you back into deep sleep in under an hour until your alarm.



on January 01, 2013
at 04:07 AM

+1 for the 2011 thing.

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5 Answers


on January 02, 2013
at 04:34 AM

My experience is I need carbs to sleep well. Connection to serotonin production I have read. I am doing the Perfect Health Diet and I sleep better when I eat rice or potatoes at dinner.

Oatmeal works really well for me too.



on January 02, 2013
at 01:16 AM

My experience has been that the more carbs I cut out the better I sleep. This summer I ate protein, vegetables and fat for a few weeks and cut out fruit and have never slept better.check your caffeine intake after 12 pm, you might also want to try Natural Calm. It's a magnesium supplement to take before bed. I took a heaping scoop of that nightly.


on March 16, 2013
at 02:47 AM

yeah my experience is that i need more carbs to sleep, but when i say more I mean 50-80grams a day is fine for me. I also find that when I am not eating enough (total calories) I find it hard to sleep and when I am doing too much cardio I also find it harder to sleep.


on March 01, 2013
at 11:30 PM

My guess is that 4.5 - 5.5 hours of sleep will not be a sustainable amount for you, despite the paleo diet (particularly if you are exercising).

One way to test out if carbs are the issue is to try introducing additional carbs by consuming sweet potatoes (20 carbs for a medium sized sweet potato). Paleo isn't necessarily a low-carb diet, although relative to the typical diet it probably has an order of magnitude less.

To help you with you sleep test, you may find the paleo sleep challenge helpful.

Here is the link to sign-up (it is free).

The idea is to help you establish sleep goals. The goals will revolve around "sleep efficiency" metrics and aggregate time slept and will be measured using an app (the phone accelerometer enables the detection of movement which allows you to quantify sleep quality).

To help you achieve your sleep goals, it walks through simple tools to help you relax the senses and induce sleep (i.e. aromatherapy for smell, light-eliminating eyemask for sight, noise reducing ear plugs for sound, goose feather pillow for feel / body posture, calming tea for taste).

Hope this helps!


on January 17, 2013
at 05:02 AM

I had the same problem. I slept really well until about 3 am and would awaken suddenly. This was because my carb intake was way too low for me and too early in the day to boot. What was happening was that my liver was running out of glycogen around 3 am my body was producing adrenaline to burn fat(Ketones)to make more glucose, thus waking me up. I came across an obscure site that had a recommendation for my problem, it was 1/2 cup of orange (I substiute 2 clementine oranges), 1/2 teaspoon of Himalyan Sea Salt (Helps with the Adrenals among other things) with 1/2 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar (contains a lot of Potassium). The balance of the Sodium and Potassium along with the glycogen boost from the oranges worked wonders to help me sleep through the night and regain my sanity again.

Hope this Helps

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