Why Can't I Sleep?!

by 0 · April 01, 2014 at 11:36 PM

I used to sleep so well - fast asleep within 7 minutes, and now, it takes me forever to fall asleep, and when I wake several times in the night, I'm not sure if I've really slept. I'm so frustrated, and I'm hoping you'll find something I'm missing? Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated!

My husband and I have been following the Paleo diet for a year - sometimes to the T and sometimes we are a bit more lenient. The past 3 months, we've been pretty strict and have mainly stuck with Paleo foods only. The more we cut out, the more the things I do put in seem to affect my body.

Things you should know: I eat nothing sugary (even from fruit) after 6pm. We work out usually 4-5 times per week - mixture of cardio and weight training. We usually are at the gym between 6-7pm or so. I eat my last meal around 8pm. We get ready for bed about 10pm every night, and lights out around 11pm. I usually wake up at 7am. I've started doing 10-15 minutes of yoga before bed. (usually 30 minutes before bed). I've started reading before bed instead of watching tv. (usually 15 minutes before bed).

My typical food: (I usually eat around 1,600 calories - I am actively trying to lose weight. I have lost about 2lbs per week for the past 4 weeks. I started at 315, currently at around 250, working my way down).

Breakfast: 1/4 avocado, 2 scrambled eggs, 1.5 pieces of turkey bacon, 1 cup spinach Lunch: kale and spinach salad with chia seeds (1/2tbsp), 1/2 piece boneless skinless chicken breast, sunflower seeds (1tbsp), blueberries (or other in-season berry) Snacks: 1 banana, 1 apple (sometimes I eat both, sometimes I only need one or the other) Dinner: 1 night a week we have salmon, 2 nights a week we have either ground beef or steak, 1 night a week we have ground turkey or turkey sausage, 3 nights a week we have chicken. We usually have brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, zucchini or cauliflower (or another similar vegetable) with what we're eating. -- this all varies week to week, but this is pretty typical. Drinks: occasional white tea, otherwise water with lemon or lime.

What am I doing wrong? Or, what could I add to fix this? I just want to sleep! :(

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8 Replies

0 · April 01, 2014 at 11:36 PM

Things that have really improved my sleep:

- Tough physical exercise

- A pitch black room using these blackout window shades

- Daily vitamin d exposure

- Long barefoot walks (watching the sunset is even better)

- No artificial lights an hour before bed time

- Not eating two hours before bed time

0 · April 01, 2014 at 09:24 PM

Just wanted to give you an update, and say Thank You!

Suggestions that have seemed to help:

Making our bedroom as dark as possible

Adding in a bit more carbs to my weekly diet (putting potatoes back in after taking them out was hard! We've added potatoes to our rotation 2 or so times per week).

Eating a banana about two hours before bed.

It seems hit or miss - either I have a great sleeping night, or a really bad one. But I've had more good ones than bad ones since following advice! I truly appreciate all of your comments. Thank you again :)

Medium avatar
560 · March 26, 2014 at 02:20 AM

Calorie restriction can produce a stress response resulting in restlessness. From what I understand this can be more prominent in females. Women tend to respond worse to IF and probably general calorie restriction. Female rats tend to become hyperactive and spend more time foraging/nesting and less time sleeping under calorie deprivation. Male rats tend to be generally more lazy... (source: I have owned meany rats plus I read it somewhere).

The best solution I can think of has been mentioned: carbs. Eat something starchy (or sweet) in the evening a few hours before bed time.

Try not to stimulate your mind, eyes, or ears in bed. Maybe read in the living room instead and then retire. Your circadian rhythm will respond to habit. If bed is just a place you sleep, it will make you more sleepy to be there.

0 · March 25, 2014 at 11:55 PM

I've hard good experiences with the following:

  • A spoonful of raw local honey about 30 minutes before bed
  • Binaural beats app. Might be placebo, but I don't actually care.
  • Reading in bed.

Medium avatar
190 · March 25, 2014 at 07:50 PM

forsakenwarrior and I agree. I had awful sleep issues when I was VLC. Since adding back potatoes & raw potato starch sleep comes easily again. Check out resistant starch info.

982 · March 25, 2014 at 07:22 PM

It sounds like you have a good natural light cycle going. You could try plugging yourself into the ground port of your wall outlet while you sleep to kick it up a notch.


Calorie restriction + carb restriction can lead to excess adrenaline. You could try to supplement around adrenal metabolism cofactors like magnesium and niacin. B6 is a cofactor for melatonin synthesis. You might do better with a little more calories in your diet and a slower weight loss goal.

Medium avatar
0 · March 25, 2014 at 07:11 PM

I upped my carbs dramatically in the form of potatoes and sleep has improved dramatically. This is because of serotonin as it can only get into the brain only after sweet or starchy carbohydrates are eaten. Serotonin converts into melatonin in the night and therefore you will sleep better. Source: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-antidepressant-diet/201008/serotonin-what-it-is-and-why-its-important-weight-loss

Medium avatar
0 · March 25, 2014 at 07:09 PM

I have to ask about your bedroom. Do you use things like your phone in bed, or watch tv in bed,or anything like that? It is often recommended to not use any electronic devices in the bedroom (insert joke here) because it disrupts sleep. People also recommend making certain that the room is completely blacked out including LED alarm clocks.

I hope this helps,

Stephanie Stuart

Original Eating


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