I'm 23,female, 5.7 and 67kg. I've been Paleo for over a month now and have fully changed my lifestyle. For the first 3 weeks I was unaware I was dramatically under-eating (because I was seemingly eating far more than before). For the first 2 weeks everything was going brilliantly - heavy lifting at the gym 3 times a week 30mins a session, getting early nights, walking lots etc the usual. HOWEVER, I took upon eating 2 meals a day; breakfast and dinner, thinking these were large enough to keep me going (later found out I was only consuming roughly 800 calories of Protein/fat a day and to make things worse I was pretty much constantly IF in hope of leaning down quicker). Everyday was in the less than 20g of carbs with no starchy vegetables, fruit etc. After a while I started having extremely awful sleeping patterns, insulin spikes and raised cortisol- taking ages to get to sleep, heart racing, waking up in the middle of the night, brain won't switch off, can't get back to sleep - the cycle begins.
After realising the error of my ways, and a lot more research, I changed things around. Things have been better since I've dramatically increased my calorie intake (lots more protein + fat and no IF), I also began adding in a sweet potato post workout to replace muscle glycogen and have decreased training from 3 to 2 times a week.
My sleep is better, however I am consistently waking at least once during the night to go to the toilet (no I'm not drinking excess water) and then I will struggle for about 1-2hours to get back to sleep with my mind racing. Sometimes I just wake up in the middle of the night thinking and it's killing me that I can't just switch off. Just to add to it there has been no reduction in body fat after 5 weeks and it is now becoming a viscous cycle of stress getting in the way of weight loss.
Sorry - a very detailed question but any thoughts would be much appreciated!
Just a couple of things. First, your height/weight ratio is in the 'healthy' range for a woman your age. One thing I'd like to toss out there is that, despite the fact that you don't think you're where you ought to be, your BODY may have other ideas -- that may be why your weight loss has slowed down, NOT because of your sleep.
Second, I've found that, if you can let go of worrying about these kinds of things, your body will figure out its own way. Our culture tends to be VERY results-oriented, and we seem to want our results -yesterday-. The changes you're making to your nutrition aren't meant to be a crash diet to drop some weight. They're meant to be a life-long change to promote improved health and a body that functions better. It sounds to me like you're -getting- the extra energy, performance, and health that one would expect, so maybe it's time to stop worrying so much about timing, and start looking at this as a marathon, not a sprint. Perhaps if you relax in your own mind about results, your mind will be able to slow down enough for your sleep to improve.
One other issue that I see coming up occasionally here, but that I think doesn't get enough attention, is that -many- people, when left to their own natural sleep patterns, seem to develop a pattern where they go to sleep relatively early after dark (compared to the general populace), and then wake for a while in the middle of the night. I know this is a pattern that I've developed, too, and so I wonder if, perhaps, some of your night-waking isn't this same "split sleep" kind of thing. I find that if I get up and do some little thing for a while -- usually no more than an hour or two -- as long as I don't turn on the bright blue-type lights (like fluorescents), I usually go back to sleep and sleep through until it's time to get up for work on my own. I just plan my "going to bed" time to incorporate this natural broken-sleep pattern. (I suspect it had something to do with the need to get up in the middle of the night to make sure that the fire was stoked, or to stand guard duty against predators, but shrugs hard to know.)
Samantha - I've had sleep problems like this on-and-off for years. A loud car, having to use the bathroom, the dog making noise, something would wake me up and then I would lie in bed, unable to sleep with my mind racing. I would worry about problems, replay some disagreement, try to solve challenges at work, or even think about good things in my life where I felt good and excited. There never seemed to be a pattern, though I was always able to fall asleep very quickly at bedtime. I would usually wake up between 2AM and 4AM and then not feel ready to sleep again until it was time to go to work - which is a cruel trick for the mind to play. This happened when I ate SAD and it happened early on in my most recent foray into paleo eating. It's tough for me to draw a correlation to my diet for this reason. It seems to be more related to stress in my life for me. When I feel good, confident, relaxed, I tend to sleep well. When some things are a bit out of control, then I don't sleep so well.
It sounds like you're getting your diet tweaked nicely. Perhaps that will help in your case. Are you also doing things like avoiding bright light and visually stimulating things before bed? Another trick that I developed was that if I thought of something in the middle of the night, I would go to my desk and write it down on a piece of paper. The idea there was to tell my mind, “don’t worry, you can remember to worry about that in the morning.” Good luck to you.
my answer may sound strange so bear with me, but you usually do not awaken from hunger (unless its extreme) but, once awake if you have a source of constant energy (such as fat stores) then itll be difficult to fall back into a state of sleep.
when eating paleo, the bodys metabolism has switched from burning glucose and the spikes in insulin every few hours, and can now release stores of fat pretty constantly throughout the night and into the latter parts of the day without much need for food intake, this is probably one (not the be all) reason why newcomers to paleo eating have bounds of energy (as found in ketosis after the body adapts) and trouble sleeping.