Can’t sleep more than 5 hours on keto

(David ) #12

I have the same issues but I had it before I started keto about 3 months back. I was diagnosed T2 and have done a bunch of reading and I do believe it’s dawn phenomenon in my case. I can go to bed anytime between 8pm and 11 pm and I’ll wake up like you 5-6 hrs in. I’ve been having a bit of luck with a magnesium tablet at bedtime.

Good luck and keep us posted.


but eating carbs now will just make you crave carbs more, and being exhausted will reduce your will to get back on the wagon

Thanks for the advice, but I have zero weight issues or cravings issues, I’m keto purely for mental benefits.

I do believe it’s dawn phenomenon in my case

Yeah, I’ve this mentioned somewhere, think this forum… I heard Tim Ferriss suggest phosphatidylserine at is helps block cortisol, which some type of direct interaction with insulin/glucose apparently… I have some, I will try it after my carb refeed an report back.

(Aimee Moisa) #14

Ah, yes. Sorry. I’m so stuck in my own perspective of keto for losing weight that I forget others might not and can be a little more flexible in their thinking. For me it’s a matter of life and death, for you not so much. KCKO! :slight_smile:


I didn’t notice you say there’s actually a problem as a result, did I miss it? Or is your problem simply the count of hours? If you have no symtoms of not getting enough sleep, call it a win. Many of us sleep less on keto. Im MUCH more alert on wakeup at 5-6hrs than I am at 7-8, I wake up a zombie when I get “normal” amounts of sleep.

(Katie) #16

I was going to suggest experimenting with carbohydrates; maybe try increasing more at dinner (the body digests carbohydrates better when we sleep). Maybe have some sweet potato or other starchy carbohydrate at dinner (perhaps start with a small serving).

Waking up prematurely often is an issue with cortisol and other hormones. I recommend getting hormones tested. Look into the best way to do that though because for testing hormones saliva and urine is better than blood, but doctors default to blood.


I have this while fasting too. It really weirded me out at first, not in a bad way, but also I didn’t have the pounding heart thing, just complete alertness at 3:30 or 4 am. The only thing that made it suck (other than 4 am boredom) is that after breaking my fast, I did feel like I had a sleep deficit to make up. I’d be tired really, really early in the evenings for a couple of days, and I’d sleep for a good 10 hours. I’ve learned to plan around that, but I know if you’ve got family and other obligations, this could make it more complicated.


Hmm, that’s interesting. And you haven’t found that changes over time? How’ long have you been fasting? (I would love to hope that this will work itself out if I keep fasting!) I don’t think I’m more tired after fasting days but I haven’t fasted regularly enough to be sure…


I’m still figuring it out, I’m still fasting pretty regularly but my sleep schedule has just been messed up for other reasons the last couple of times so I can’t tell if it’s improving yet. Let me know how it goes for you next time.


ok, will do - thanks!


Oh forgot to answer your question, I’ve been fasting only for maybe 6 weeks, so it’s totally possible it will change yet.

(Sarah Bruhn) #22

Are you tired? Maybe you don’t need to sleep longer than 5 hours on Keto?



So yesterday I was feeling my usual state of paradoxically energized/alert and also freakin exhausted as hell to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to do a carb refeed at about 5pm. I had about 100 grams of carbs - a mix of boiled sweet potatoes and blueberries (both very low on the GI) with a lot of fat and some protein.

What happened next was pretty nuts… Let me tell you, from someone who’s tried ambien and other sleep aids before, recreational drugs etc., nothing in my life has EVER knocked me on my as and put me into a deep comatose sleep like ever in my life.

Babies in comas don’t sleep this good. As soon as that starch hit my blood stream, it was like a I got smacked with a wrecking ball and it completely put me on my ass almost instantly. If someone had told me “if you can just stay awake for 2 more hours, I’ll give a million dollars” - well, I would have lost out on a million dollars.

Funny before before that, I talked on the phone with my dad who suggested “why don’t you just take a nap” and I chuckled at the mere idea of being able to take a nap. I laughed saying “oh dad, you don’t know what keto feels like lol.” A nap which was absolutely impossible in my state of deep ketosis, 20 mins after eating the carbs, was now not only possible, it was MANDATORY, whether I wanted to or not. I’ve never ever in my life seen such a profound shift in my state like this.

Of course, 5pm is far before my usual bed time, so I woke up around 9pm feeling groggy and cloudy as hell, and I tried going back to sleep at around 12am but couldn’t to save my life :frowning: ended up lying down in bed for 2.5 hours before finally breaking down and taking a 0.25mg of xanax which I HATE and rarely do. It finally put me out but was the worst quality sleep of ever, I was sluggish all day today and took ANOTHER 3-4 hour nap at around 5pm lol so now I’m completely f***ed.

Are you tired? Maybe you don’t need to sleep longer than 5 hours on Keto?

YES. Absolutely, I feel crappy and lethargic and sleep deprived as hell… But at the same time, energized and alert… Total paradox, I know, like being hot and cold at the same time - but we’ve all been there when we have the flu (cold sweats). This is why I don’t want to give up on keto - I feel like it’s the “limitless pill” (if you have’t seen that movie, I basically feel like it’s a miracle drug) because normally on 4.5 hours sleep I would absolutely worthless, but I’m actually fairly productive. I can only imagine how good it would be to have the same incredible mental energy/clarity of keto BUT ALSO well-slept. Sounds like heaven honestly.

I’m not giving up. After this 2 day refeed, I’m going right back into it.

I’ll keep you all updated as well. PRAYING my body adapts! If I could sleep even just 7 hours a night on keto I would be sooooo happy

(Adam Foard) #24

While I’m in ketosis, if I get an inadvertent dose of carbs my body temp and heart rate will spike and do something like what you described. Could your honey be causing this?

What you describe is something that sometimes happens to me in or out of keto. Some time between my first and second sleep cycle my furnace turns on and temp and HR go through the roof. However I can usually go pee and get back to sleep.

I’ve been in and out of keto a few times over the years. If I’ve been out for a while then come back to keto, I will have a week or two of irregular sleep. It usually resolves.

I’m a meditator as well, and extra meditation is also a good way to make up a little bit of sleep. It is an anecdote that the more you meditate the less sleep you need. Ideas:

  • When you wake up just use that extra time to meditate. Yes you’re rev’ed up, but experiencing and accepting those unpleasant moments is part of it.
  • You might do the extra morning meditation laying down instead of sitting just in case you manage to drift back off to sleep.
  • In the afternoon set an alarm and do 45 minutes of body scan while laying down. Even if you don’t fully slip into sleep it can be like a power nap.

(Chris Robertson) #25

I only sleep 4 hrs a night on keto. I was sleeping 6hrs before keto. I still feel more alert now so I am not that concerned about it. I think the 4 hrs I am getting now is good sleep and 4 hrs good sleep is better than 6 hrs bad sleep. If you feel like you need more sleep than you are getting try going to bed earler. A lot of us wake up at the same time no matter what time we go to bed. If you can’t go to sleep try staing away from your phone, computer, and TV for a couple hrs before you go to bed. Blue light from the screens tricks your body into thinking it is early and throws off your cermcadiun rhythm. Another tip is to avoid carbs at dinner. Carbs give you energy for a few hrs so sleeping is more difficult. If you eat carbs with lunch you will get your carb crash at the end of your day making it easier to go to sleep.

(Terence Dean) #26

I’m pretty fortunate because I can sleep any time of the day or night for that matter. As we get older we need less sleep but I get your point about your pattern changing due to Keto. Its possible that Keto interrupts a long 8 hour sleep, I have noticed that I seem to wake up needing to go to the toilet more than I did, I guess that’s due to the kidney’s getting a lot better at doing their job. For me I can go back to sleep and continue on until morning no problem. I used to lash out a bit in my sleep sometimes but I narrowed that down to drinking coffee way too close before I went to bed. Dropped the stimulants and it does not happen.

My wife on the other hand does have trouble getting to sleep but I often catch her nodding off during the day. What I try and do is keep her awake all day until she really needs to sleep and is really tired. She’s out like a light and doesn’t wake up. Noise will wake her up though, so I have to be careful to keep quiet while she’s still sleeping. Not sure whether you nap during the day but if you do try that. We all have to sleep at some time so whether you do it during the night or end up micro sleeping during the day, the body will eventually grab sleep when it needs it. Just hope its not behind the wheel of your car!

(Adam Foard) #27

How’s your sleep going? Any hacks helped? Or did you go back to carbs?


I’ve been having the same problem with keto. It’s my only complaint, really. But last night, I got the first good night of sleep since I started 3-4 weeks ago. I’d already tried melatonin, GABA, magnesium, and even Tylenol PM.

What I did last night was completely avoid all screens for 2 entire hours before bed. Completely, not even a glance at my phone. I dimmed the lights and just did gentle cleaning up and read a book. I also had a snack before bed (avocado) which made my calories higher than they typically are. I think calorie deprivation has been part of my problem.

Anyway, I slept 7 hours solid. Totally deep. I hope you find something that does the trick for you!


Another good night of sleep! Again, I avoided screens and ate a snack.

But it might just be that my body has finally adjusted and I’m not producing as much cortisol. I’m less hyper than I was a week ago.


Thanks for keeping us posted! I definitely have a tendency to cortisol jumps, and it’s nice to know that it can even out. I’m pretty good about keeping screens dim/yellow at night but I have yet to try complete avoidance. I might give that a try!

(Philip H Kern) #31

This might be a bit late, but I thought I’d chip in anyway. My sleep patterns sound a lot like the OPs in that I usually can fall into a deep sleep fairly quickly but wake up early and don’t have a lot of REM sleep. My profile tended to be a good amount of deep sleep til somewhere between 2 and 4 a.m., and then on a good day a bit of dozing after that.

Having had sleep trouble almost all my life, I’ve tried all the natural stuff–melatonin, valerian, etc. I found that most of them interfered rather than helped with sleep quality. That is, they didn’t improve my later-in-the-night sleep, but they seemed to interfere with the earlier hours. So I haven’t taken anything for a few years.

By the time I got to my 50s, it was starting to have obvious negative affects. I had my doctor run a ton of blood tests, did sleep tests, etc. The result was that I was put on a CPAP machine and told to lose some weight. At 6 feet and 175 pounds, that was strange to hear, but over the years and despite having a very small frame I had become skinny-fat.

To get to the point, here are some things I’ve found. 1) I had been aiming to go to bed by 10:00. When I changed that to 9:00, I noticed a marked improvement in the later hours. 2) the biggest thing for me in relation to REM was when I started taking a teaspoon of raw honey before I went to bed. No idea why it works. Placebo affect? Don’t care. It works for me every night. I log sleep data from my wearable–I don’t entirely trust it, but broad patterns are discernible and hopefully reliable. Now I still wake up between 2:00 and 4:00, and usually glance at my clock–but then get back to sleep. In the morning my device shows that my REM has gone from an average of 30 to 40 minutes per night to usually around 80 to 100, with no decrease in deep sleep. So I’d recommend a) ditching the supplements, b) trying to get to bed a bit earlier (as counterintuitive as that might seem), and c) finding some good raw honey. For me the honey was a life changer.