1

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Paleo hasn't improved my sleeping, if anything it's worse:(.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 21, 2013 at 8:24 PM

Hi,

I'm about 3 weeks into paleo so I know my symptoms must still be settling in but I recently moved into a time zone 3 hours earlier, which isn't a huge difference. Before I slept from 9-11 to 6 am and I loved being a morning person, them I moved to the new place into basement apartment and it messed everything up, starting off at bed at 1am -12pm.

By the time I turned paleo I can't sleep anywhere past 4-5 am and I can't wake up any earlier han 2-5pm. I hate it so much because I miss out on the day and I have tries countless times since I moved here to switch my hours around. I've tried slowly (10 minutes earlier a day for 2 weeks) didnt work, just staying up all night and then correcting it really fast- nothing. I've always struggled with insomnia but this is ridiculous, I've even included magnesium oil, earthing, sun exposure if I wake up early enough, saunas and don't exercise every day but I'm always so exhausted from having a horrible sleep.

Any suggestions or have any similar scenarios when you turned paleo? It's really frustrating!

B2eb3ff4456b2408e6db558072e7d3f2

(414)

on August 22, 2013
at 12:20 AM

I personally find that if I eat too low carb at dinner, I sleep like crap.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:30 PM

*In short, no natural lighting

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:29 PM

(In short, no lighting - even at night when it is typically rather dark - is still very different from the nighttime low natural light & it's fluctuation through windows. Total darkness of natural light [what a "basement apartment" sounds to be], especially over a fair proportion of the day and many days , will likely mess up circadian rhythms and light sensitivity.)

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:25 PM

Well-written thoughts. It could also very easily be the basement apartment. Largely lack of natural light will often mess up zeitgeibers and thus circadian rhythms. The solution may, sadly, be to move. Spending a copious amount of time outside might also help. Also, try an extended (1-4 wk) camping trip to reset sleep if lifestyle allows. The lighting and environment would be natural.

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2 Answers

3
00c8eb3f6e6a1884216044ca29cf868a

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

  • Upon waking, get natural light as soon as possible. I assume your basement apartment has either no windows or tiny windows, so you'll have to go outside.
  • Look up Seth Roberts' "faces therapy" and do that in the morning, after light exposure. (Even better, during it, assuming you live somewhere where people are around outside.)
  • If you're taking Vitamin D (and you probably should if your environment is light-poor), take it in the morning.
  • Get as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. Again, this probably means "go outside".
  • As said above, don't drink caffeine after lunch.
  • Eat whatever carbs you have in your diet for dinner. High protein, very-low-carb meals late in the day cause many people to sleep poorly (I'm one of them).
  • As it gets close to bedtime, use something like f.lux to turn down the color temperature of your monitor.
  • Darken your room when you sleep, particularly of blue status LEDs and smartphone screens. Blue light is a powerful daytime cue.
  • If all else fails, try a gram or two of melatonin at bedtime. If you're taking magnesium, make sure it's a chelate (a chemical ending in -ate, like malate or glycinate). Mg oxide remains almost entirely unabsorbed by your body and is basically worthless.

There are a lot more possibilities, including various vitamin and mineral deficiencies, but lacking any detailed information, I would suggest these first.

1
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on August 21, 2013
at 08:38 PM

I'd pay attention at the symptoms: why can't you sleep? Do you feel a lot of energy just at bed time? (happens to a lot of people that have their circadian rhythms flipped, an ASI test might reveal something) or is it your belly roars by that time? Then maybe you could benefit from eating a little bit more. Most consensus says that the better sleep comes when you haven't eaten 3 to 4h prior to bedtime, although some people find harder to get asleep if they feel hungry, or need to feel a little bit satiated to get sleepy, makes sense somehow.

Have you implemented a low carb version of the Paleo Diet? There's some mixed opinions on how people sleeps on low carb, some say that they sleep like a baby but for many others they cannot sleep well at all, so if you lowered a lot your carb intake you could add a little bit more back and see if that helps.

You could try to use some foods high in tryptophan in your dinner, like poultry or tuna, spinach, white potatoes, cottage cheese, some hot milk, some nuts... they might aid in sleeping.

Since you noticed that it's from the switch to paleo I guess we can rule out coffee, but beware if you have caffeinated drinks at from noon onwards. Don't you have added any food or supplement that might promote alertness since paleo? if foods high in tryptophan can aid to sleep, foods that have high tyrosine seems to alter sleep. If you're using Cocoa you might have problems with the Theobromine also...

Well, just some thoughts, hope something might help!

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:25 PM

Well-written thoughts. It could also very easily be the basement apartment. Largely lack of natural light will often mess up zeitgeibers and thus circadian rhythms. The solution may, sadly, be to move. Spending a copious amount of time outside might also help. Also, try an extended (1-4 wk) camping trip to reset sleep if lifestyle allows. The lighting and environment would be natural.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:29 PM

(In short, no lighting - even at night when it is typically rather dark - is still very different from the nighttime low natural light & it's fluctuation through windows. Total darkness of natural light [what a "basement apartment" sounds to be], especially over a fair proportion of the day and many days , will likely mess up circadian rhythms and light sensitivity.)

B2eb3ff4456b2408e6db558072e7d3f2

(414)

on August 22, 2013
at 12:20 AM

I personally find that if I eat too low carb at dinner, I sleep like crap.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on August 21, 2013
at 09:30 PM

*In short, no natural lighting

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