Can The Carnivore Diet Help You Sleep Better?
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The symptoms of poor sleep are endless and range from brain fog to rapid aging! What if diet could play a major role in helping with the improvement of sleep?
Well, it appears through some scientific studies and anecdotal evidence that sleep can be improved with a lower-carb, sugar-free diet making the carnivore diet a strong contender as a sleep improver. (1) (2) (3)
Sleep is an often-underrated aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
People will spend hours planning and prepping food, strap on their running shoes and crank out miles and miles on the treadmill, and spend countless hours worrying about if a 55 strength program is better than a 310 hypertrophy schedule. All while paying no attention to sleep.
Yes, food is critical to health, humans are born to move, and lifting is great… but if you are not considering sleep length and quality, then you might be constantly swimming upstream.
Like with anything regarding health, it is all interrelated and you must have a fully encompassing lifestyle plan to get full benefits.
Today we will look at how the carnivore diet may allow you to sleep better, allowing you to recover from your daily exploits quicker and more efficiently.
What is the carnivore diet?
It is basically a zero carb diet, that focuses on the consumption of animal protein and fats.
So, any animal or fish product you like is on the table, but with a primary focus on ruminant meat.
Any plant product is off the table. No ridiculous kale and spinach smoothies here!
If you are new to the carnivore diet then these popular articles will help tremendously!
- Carnivore Diet 101: A Meaty Resource From a Practitioner
- Top 11 Carnivore Diet Mistakes
- 11 Reasons to Quit Alcohol on a Carnivore Diet (#2 is Scary)
Why do you need good sleep
Sleep is vital as it gives your body time to recover and restore. Without good sleep, you can not have good mental function and physical health. (4)
Did you know that a bad night’s sleep lowers your willpower, and you are much more likely to eat sugary foods the day after? (5)
Are you getting good quality sleep?
To get good quality sleep, you need to:
- Sleep at the right time of day
- Get enough REM and non-REM sleep
- Absence of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and snoring
Problems caused by sleep deficiency
Having poor quality sleep or not enough sleep has been linked with increased risk of most metabolic issues but especially conditions like:
- Heart Disease
- Lack of focus
- Lower reaction speed
- Difficulty learning new things (6)
Who are at risk of sleep issues
Which type of people can be at risk of sleep deficiency?
- People who work long stressful hours, like caregivers
- People who work shifts, nightshift is especially destructive
- People who don’t prioritize sleep and stay up late
- People who eat and drink alcohol late at night
- People who are overweight or have other medical problems and require medication
How can the carnivore diet improve your sleep…my hypothesis.
Once again, I’m not a doctor or researcher and this is not medical advice but rather a collection of studies and testimonials which are then used for my simple hypothesis that when health improves you sleep better and vice versa!
Sleep better get healthy, get healthy sleep better.
Carnivore, an extremely low carb diet, has been shown to be an extremely healthy and effective way to lose weight very quickly, but also just as important to keep that weight off long term. (7)
This can potentially help eliminate sleep apnea and snoring, which can have a huge impact on sleep quality.
Obesity, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, are all diseases mainly caused by diet.
These put a huge strain on your general health, meaning your body has a lot more recovery work to do while sleeping.
Carnivore has been shown with some people to help or reverse all these issues, meaning your body can concentrate on proper sleep recovery rather than constantly putting out fires.
Check out these testimonials, (anecdotal evidence):
These are damaged cells that cause oxidative stress. Your body can clear these and repurpose them while you are sleeping.
But there is only a certain amount they can clear per hour, so if you are creating more free radicals throughout the day than you can clear at night, this may lead to diseases such as cancer. (8) (9)
Low carb diets have been shown to be clean-burning diets which lower the number of free radicles you produce. (10)
In theory, this means you need less sleep to clear the number of free radicles in your body. Therefore, you may have a lower risk for these diseases and a healthier body resulting in more restful sleep.
Zero carb and other fat burning diets like keto are excellent at reducing chronic inflammation. (11)
We’ve seen numerous people find improvements with disease and symptoms that relate to chronic inflammation like arthritis, joint pain, and even Crohn’s.
Chronic inflammation has been shown to have a big impact on your body clock and your ability to recover in your sleep.
Again, the theory is that the better your general health is, the more your body can concentrate on repair, recovery, and maintenance while sleeping.
Check out these testimonials relating to inflammation.
An ancestral diet like the carnivore diet can potentially help balance your hormones which is very important for overall health, and when you are balanced you are much more likely to get high-quality sleep.
Probably the most famous hormone it greatly impacts is insulin.
Continuous glucose monitors have shown that you have very steady insulin levels on carnivore, with next to no spiking.
And it is regular spikes that lead to insulin resistance and diseases such as diabetes. (12)
People tend to not be aware of how much food affects mood negatively, even though they understand that food can make them feel better, they do not link that it can also do the opposite and lead to depression and anxiety.
I have seen many instances where a carnivore diet has improved people’s day-to-day anxiety (myself included), and they have decreased their need for medications like anti-depressants.
Less anxiety equals better sleep, at least in my book!
Dr. Georgia Ede goes into great detail on how diet plays a role in mental health. I always recommend her website for those of us looking for clarity on low-carb diets and mental health improvement. Check out her site Diagnosis Diet.
Being calm and mentally balanced before you go to sleep is very important and means you do not need to count those sheep.
I will add that you should not confuse sleep length for quality, you can still be sleep deficient no matter how long you sleep if that sleep is of poor quality.
In fact, a lot of carnivores report they sleep less but feel more rested.
Once again the theory is because you are likely doing less damage to yourself during the day, so your body can repair quicker and you do not need as much sleep.
What other things help you sleep better
Apart from overhauling your diet, you can do other things to help like:
Get into a routine
Try to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. And do this at the weekend also, not just weekdays.
As much as possible get this routine to match sunlight, so get up as close to sunrise as possible and let yourself get tired as it gets darker.
Less Blue Light
To allow your natural sleep signals to prosper, when it gets dark limit your use of blue light.
So limit screen time to a couple of hours before you want to go to sleep. You can even install this app on your computer or smartphones to reduce blue light exposure.
Use soft lighting, and ideally use red/amber lighting throughout the house although you might get some funny knocks on your door if you do this haha!
These are the good “Edison” style amber light bulbs, (non-LED).
Blue blocking glasses are a great tool too if your whole house isn’t on board with your new sleep techniques. I use a high-quality glassware made by RA Optiks.
RA Optiks provides our readers with a 10% off coupon code too! Use WildLumens at checkout.
Use blackout curtains if you are not syncing with the times of the sun. These are especially useful for all the city dwellers. Don’t let that blue light sneak in.
Keep your room cool enough so you need a duvet. If you have a powerful air conditioner then you should be good to go. However some of us live in warmer climates where AC just won’t do it.
That’s where a ChiliPad comes in. It’s basically a pad that goes over your mattress and pumps cold water through it and cools you while you sleep.
It’s worth checking out.
Don’t eat too close to bedtime, you need to give your body time to digest the food before you try to go to sleep.
Also, try eating a higher fat lower protein meal as your last meal of the day.
Don’t drink depressants or stimulants too close to bedtime, e.g. alcohol, tea, and coffee being the 2 main culprits.
In fact, we went really deep with this subject and wrote these highly informational articles:
- Can You Drink Alcohol On The Carnivore Diet? (Why and Why not?)
- Can You Drink Coffee On The Carnivore Diet? (Why and Why not?)
- Can You Drink Tea On the Carnivore Diet? (Why and Why Not?)
A hot bath, shower, or meditation can be used to unwind before you try to go to sleep.
A great bath hack is to drop in some Epsom Salt.
Less Toxic Cookware
Sometimes the cookware we are cooking all our meat with is contaminated by certain toxins. I’ve been told it’s a good idea to change up your pans and skillets to less toxic brands to eliminate the possibility that your cookware could be giving you health problems.
I am not a fan of scheduled naps, as to me, it signifies you have not slept enough the night before.
However, if at some point you do feel desperate for a nap, then you should take one as your body is trying to tell you something.
Of course, taking a nap too close to bedtime can prevent you from falling asleep again.
Carnivore Diet can make sleep worse!
Ever heard of the keto flu? What about the carnivore diet flu?
Some people report that when going on a very low carb or carnivore diet they experience flu-like symptoms and one of the symptoms is horrible sleep quality.
So, this transition period is real and can happen. Just know that usually over time the symptoms will improve and soon you may be sleeping better than ever.
If you are curious about the carnivore diet flu and how some people remedy it you will want to read this article:
Sleep is like breathing, you must do it. It is essential to life. You should take as much time thinking about a sleep plan, as you should a food or exercise plan.
But at the end of the day they all work together, and to achieve optimal health you need to build a lifestyle that includes everything.
As there is no point spending 4 hours a day in the gym, but getting terrible sleep, then wondering why your gains are so poor.
The carnivore diet isn’t easy, especially when starting out. That’s why I always recommend getting educated. Pick up this book by Dr. Shawn Baker to learn more about this style of eating.
Then check out our Wild Lumens YouTube channel where you will find carnivore diet recipes, interviews, and great content.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. This is not medical advice.
- High glycemic index and glycemic load diets as risk factors for insomnia: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative
- The relationship between adherence to a Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) dietary pattern and insomnia
- Insomnia and your diet
- Mental Health and Sleep
- Interactions between sleep habits and self-control
- WebMD: 10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss
- Diet Doctor: The Science of Low Carb and Keto
- Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health
- Brain, heal thyself
- Ketogenic Diet
- Ketosis for Reduced Inflammation
- Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes