A popular method for losing weight is called intermittent fasting. This is known as time restricted eating and has proved to be a very effective method for weight loss. It involves limiting your eating between certain hours that way your body goes into a state of fasting. Intermittent fasting is fantastic for blood sugar control and burning fat.
But did you also know that intermittent fasting has benefits for sleeping? if you are thinking about intermittent fasting or have done it before and it's important to understand or have a better idea of all the benefits that can come with it. Continue reading to find out how intermittent fasting can positively impact your sleep health.
Why time-restricted eating can support sleep
Consuming meals within a consistent daily time window is associated with better sleep and quality of life. This is the foundation of intermittent fasting.
You choose a window and which to eat and outside of that when you fast. Common ratios include 16:8, 12:12, 14:10, 5:2, and alternative fasting. These ratios represent the number of hours for fasting vs. eating. So for example, in the 16:8, you fast for 16 hours and then have an eight-hour window for eating.
The reason that time restricted eating is so great for our metabolism is because of its impact on our circadian rhythm or internal clock. Circadian rhythm controls our sleep-wake cycle and tells our body when it's time to wake up and when it's time to go to sleep. It is normalized if we are on a normal schedule.
But if we are on a different schedule every day and wake up and go to sleep at different times every day, then our circadian rhythm will be thrown off. Eating within a certain window adds to our schedule. So our brain begins to connect the time that we're doing certain activities with the time of day it is. The more you do this the more your brain will be trained.
The set eating also helps with self-control as well. Without having a confined schedule for eating we may find ourselves nibbling or snacking out of boredom or habit. These extra rules help to cut that eating down as it can negatively affect sleep timing and quality. Especially late night snacks which can lead to indigestion, heartburn, weight gain, poor blood sugar control, and other negative health effects.
What to eat during the feeding period?
Intermittent fasting doesn't work if you eat unhealthy and non-nutritious foods during your feeding period. In order for it to be effective, you have to eat right during your feeding window.
Your very first meal of the day, you may feel very hungry which can lead you to make poor food decisions. However the most important thing to remember is that high protein diets can help curb some of that hunger.
Diets high in carbohydrates can lead to drowsiness and fragmented sleep as well. High fat foods also can negatively impact sleep quality. T
he best type of diet to try and follow is the Mediterranean inspired diets that include high protein, fiber, fruits, vegetables, and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Not only is this diet good for your overall health, but it also seems to be very good for sleep. It's best to have most plant heavy meals earlier in the day as delayed eating can disrupt the Circadian rhythm.
You should stop eating at about the same time every night, about three hours before bed, so that way you can digest the food before you go to sleep.
Our bodies like routine and intermittent fasting is a great way to get your mind and body on the same schedule. It will be very tough at first as those hunger cravings will seem almost overwhelming. But at the end of the day there are enough positive benefits that once you get past those first few days you just sort of get used to it. Maybe this change and eating will help you with your sleep, but if it does not and you think that there may be underlying issues then please click the orange button below and take our free online sleep test that will connect you with one of our sleep health professionals.