Whenever you make a nutritional lifestyle change, your body must adapt to the new levels of calories and macronutrients. For some people, this adjustment period is accompanied by improved feelings of wellness, such as fewer sugar cravings and improved mental clarity. For others, the transition is not as smooth and they may experience low blood sugar, irritability and sleeping problems.
Why Can’t I Sleep?
For people on a no sugar-no starch nutritional plan, there are several factors that can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Cholecystokinin, more commonly known as CCK, is a peptide that is secreted in the cells of the small intestine that has been shown to lead to anxiety in some people. CCK increases when fat and protein is digested, which may cause a reduction is sleep quality.
A diet that is low in carbohydrates has been associated with increased cortisol levels, which can act as a stimulant for the central nervous system.
Low Tryptophan Levels
If your previous dietary habits incorporated a high level of refined carbohydrates, your brain has likely become accustomed to increased levels of sleep-inducing tryptophan. A sudden decrease in carbohydrates will lead to lower levels of tryptophan, which may make it difficult for you to sleep.
Because the body digests fat and protein more efficiently than carbohydrates, your evening meal may not be enough to carry you through the night. Your body will eventually adapt to your new eating habits, but in the meantime, a healthy high-protein snack will stave off nighttime hunger.
Getting Through the Initial Phase
The first three days of a nutritional lifestyle change are typically the toughest. Your body is suffering withdrawal symptoms, and you may feel irritable, tired and moody. However, your body will adjust to healthy living without dietary sugars and starches and you will soon be feeling much better. Your body has spent decades as a carb-burning machine, and while it may take several weeks to fully retrain your metabolism to be a fat-burning machine, the results are worth it.