Sunday, May 22, 2011

Low Carb Diets and Sleep Disorders

My wife has commented that I am sleeping much better since starting my low carb lifestyle.  I sleep deeper and do not wake up as often during the night to use the bathroom.  My insomnia has stopped and I am able to fall asleep easier.  So I decided to dig into the research and see if there was any relationship between low carbing and sleeping.  This is what I found.

Apparently, both sleep restriction and sleep apnea are associated with insulin resistance.  Who knew?  Read the linked article, but it is a function of bodily hormones such as cortisol and leptin.  Especially for sleep apnea, there are many possible cures, including a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) mask and machine for sleeping, surgery, and other oral appliances.  Or, you could try following a low carb diet.  Sleep disorders have been associated with high blood pressure and, as mentioned above, insulin resistance.  A low carb diet has a dramatic effect on lowering both blood pressure and insulin resistance (making you more insulin sensitive).  Of course, if you are on high blood pressure medication and drugs/insulin for type I or II diabetes, you will have to work with a physician to get your medication adjusted if you follow a low carb diet.

A high carb diet leads to insulin resistance, and so do sleep disorders.  Both of these conditions are common with people who are overweight.  And a low carb diet can apparently solve both problems in many people.  Listen to this podcast with Terry Brown, M.D., a specialist in treating sleep disorders with low carb diets for more information (it is about 45 minutes long).

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