Constantly waking up during sleep for no reason


Hello, I just started a keto carnivore diet approximately ~25 days ago or so, but I didn’t do any research before starting so I’m afraid I might have messed up because for the past week or so now I am waking up every 2 hours when I sleep. I will go to bed at around 11pm, wake up at 1am, wake up at 3am, and then wake up at 5am and I need to start work at around 6am so I can’t go back to sleep now, and I’m tired although not to the point where I can’t function at a minimum throughout the day.

Here is some more information about me:
Male, 32 years old, 178 lbs., 5’6".
Objective: I started a zero carb carnivore way of eating to relieve abdominal pains doctors cannot find the cause of, but I just want to become healthy in general.
Lifestyle: Around the 2nd week of February, I jumped right into a zero carb carnivore way of eating, consuming only one meal per day at around 5:30pm. I had no issues quitting carbs cold turkey and no issues immediately going into fasting for 23 hours per day.
I’ve mostly been eating various cuts of grass-fed beef and chicken, with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and a lot of grass-fed butter to satiety. I’m not sure how much salt I’ve been adding since I just put however much I wanted to taste and did not measure (I use Redmond Real Salt).
I do take multivitamins (Controlled Labs Orange Triad [3 tablets daily]) and electrolyte supplements (Redmond Re-Lyte [1 serving daily]) daily as well.
I add about 4 grams of sodium to about 48 oz. of water per day, but I read either on this forum or another one that over-hydration is a thing and that I should start aiming for less than 16 oz. of water per day on a zero carb carnivore diet. But I’ve also read a lot of conflicting information about this so I’m not sure what to do about my water intake.
I lead an extremely sedentary lifestyle due to long hours at my desk job, although I stand up and walk around often and try to hit the gym 1-2x per week.

Please let me know if there is any other information you need and if you have had similar issues to mine and know how to fix it. Thanks

(Mg ) #2

Welcome! Congratulations on making it to this incredible lifestyle.
That’s my experience too.
It’s good news though…
Going into ketosis can cause
Insomnia. It’s attributed to low levels of serotonin and melatonin, as well as higher than normal energy levels.
I do low carbs for now 30-35 a day. Feed once a day with a snack.
I been doing this lifestyle for 4-5 years give or take a few months.
To this day I only require 5-6 hours a day.
Took me a while to get used to it.
Used to sleeping a lot.
Now, I look forward to my 4am wake up while the world sleeps
My favorite time of the day.
Energy is through the roof. It feels great once you just go with it and gain acceptance.
Once you get patternized (my term for regular time schedule ) you’ll feel better.
It’s just a shock a first.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #3

Curious that you jumped right into OMAD! That might be part of your current sleep issue. Lots of stuff happens when you start keto, or the carnivore rendition of it. So you can expect the unexpected for awhile until you start to adapt and settle down.

Did you ever experience your intermittent sleep pattern pre keto? If not, I can think of a couple of possible reasons keto might trigger it. One, we’re creatures of habit. Eating SAD for decades and grazing virtually all day every day trains your metabolism, and your brain, to expect major food input every couple of hours. A carb-loaded meal only gets you about 2 hours before the glucose drops to the point where you start to feel hungry again. Now that you’re only eating once a day, your brain just may be waking up to inquire where’s the next meal, it’s time to eat.

Two, the brain can use ketones for up to about 75% of its fuel requirement. Ketones burn more cleanly and more efficiently than glucose. So a brain on ketones gets more usable energy from a given amount of fuel and produces less junk to dispose of. Many folks report they get increased ‘mental clarity’ and/or less ‘brain fog’ after starting keto. The use of ketones for fuel is what they’re describing. A more efficiently functioning brain can also interfere with sleeping 7-8 hours continuously. It’s got the energy and higher level of activity and alertness to pop up every once in a while (in your case every 2 hours) to verify ‘all’s clear, safe to continue sleeping’. Our ancestors evolved in an environment where ‘sleeping soundly’ could get you eaten.

Rest assured you are not alone. I am one of the many who experience intermittent sleep patterns. I only get about an hour to an hour and a half at a time before awakening. If you use an alarm clock to awaken in the morning, it may help you get longer sleep periods during the night, since your brain won’t have the additional task of waking up periodically to check the time.

As for water: drink when you’re thirsty stop when you’re not. We have a built-in water gauge that works quite well to manage water intake/outtake. You can trust it. I also drink salted water. I’ve done so for so long that unsalted water now tastes insipid. Redmond’s Real Salt is excellent! So is Pink Himilayan.

Welcome and best wishes.

(Old Baconian) #4

And Benjamin Bikman says probably even more. (Not arguing with you, just saying.)


The OMAD thing actually wasn’t intentional. I did not know OMAD was a thing until recently, because I just happened to only be hungry once a day when I cut out all carbs from my life. Maybe because I cut it all too suddenly?

But no, I never experienced this in my 32 years of life (or that I can remember). So that’s why I found it concerning since I’ve never experienced this before.

How long have you experienced intermittent sleeping patterns for? I wouldn’t mind if this was something perpetual I have to deal with for the rest of my life, except I feel like I am not getting the full rest I require, and hence goes against the primary reason I started this whole keto carnivore thing – to become healthier.

I’ve also read (either on here or elsewhere) that thirst, like hunger, have “false” signals, like when one feels hungry but they’re not actually because it’s more mental/psychological rather than hormonal. So I’m having difficulty determining whether I am or am not ‘truly’ thirsty (or hungry). So my main concern is that I’m just scared of being tricked by my brain into over-hydrating and in effect actually dehydrating my body by accidentally waterlogging.

(Old Baconian) #6

Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry, drink when you are thirsty. Hunger signals do not coordinate precisely over 24 hours, but intake over 7 or 8 days matches energy expenditure almost exactly. Especially at first, people tend to feel they are overeating on keto. When the appetite hormones get re-regulated, that usually changes dramatically. If you don’t notice a difference in a few weeks, then it’s time to see about counting calories, but not before. You don’t want to accidentally eat too little and put your body into famine mode.

Hunger and thirst have evolved over two million years. They are pretty trustworthy.


Thank you, this puts my mind at ease a bit more. Since I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now, and I haven’t really noticed any change in my appetite from when I started, should I start counting calories? Because now that I look at the actual numbers I just calculated in a spreadsheet, it seems I am consuming about ~1,200 calories a day, even though I eat to satiety (also I’m not sure how cooking the food alters the data found on the nutrition facts labels). I don’t really understand the science behind all of this, so is this something I should start becoming concerned about right away?

Also another question: is it okay to drink water while eating a meal at the same time?

(Old Baconian) #8

The danger of slipping into famine mode comes from deliberately restricting calories. People who eat to satiety and who have excess stored fat to shed typically eat about 1,000 calories less than they actually need, because the missing 1,000 calories can come from their fat store. As you continue to lose fat, and if you keep eating to satiety, you will eventually find yourself getting the entire 2200 calories you need from your food, because your excess fat will be gone at that point.

Of course!


So then here is something I am curious about now. I am fairly obese, with tons of fat. Why do I get hungry at all if I have so much fat in my storage for my body to utilize? Why aren’t I satiated for weeks on end since my body has so much unused fat that it can take advantage of?

(Jane) #10

Apparently there is a limit of how much body fat your body can utilitze in a day so you will get hungry to get you to eat to make up the difference. This does not apply if you are doing long multi-day fasts - hunger pretty much goes away but you still only burn a certain amount of body fat so your metabolism may drop to match that.


I posted this in another thread but here it is again. It was very frustrating when this was happening to me so I try to share the solution I found when I can!

There seems to be varied reasons as to why this happens. I’m sure those who are carnivore will chime in soon.

However, I can tell you my experience.

Earlier on in my keto journey, I was definitely closer to carnivore, although not fully. I was/am also OMAD.

During that time, I definitely experienced sleep problems, especially with falling asleep. It really affected me and I think I posted on the forum about it at the time. I tried all the blue light etc recommendations with no success.

I then saw that Thomas Delauer video regarding the cause being not getting enough tryptophan, so I followed his recommendation of eating some keto compliant carbs separately from meals containing proteins.

So I would have a bowl of brocolli in some tomato stew about 1 hour before having my main meal that contained proteins. That solved it immediately.

I did that for a few months and went back to OMAD but now incorporating a good amount of vegetable carbs. Haven’t had the issue since.

From reading about other people’s experiences, some people can’t do carnivore due to this sleep issue while for other people, carnivore has no effect on sleep.

That was my experience but if you want to see how you may be able to solve the issue without going off carnivore…see other responses in the thread.

(Old Baconian) #12

There are two situations at work here, a carb-heavy, high-insulin diet, and a low-carb, low-insulin diet.

  1. Under conditions of high glucose intake (high-carb diet), there is a response by the pancreas that elevates the level of circulating insulin, in order to drive the excess glucose out of the bloodstream before it can cause too much damage. Because some of the excess glucose gets converted into fat, one of the jobs of insulin is to signal to our adipose tissue to take in fat and not let it back out. And therefore all that stored energy (fat) in our adipose tissue is unavailable until insulin drops low enough, which it never does on a high-carb diet. Hence, cells are starved for energy and we are hungry much of the time.

  2. Under conditions of low glucose intake (low-carb diet), there is a much lesser insulin response. Circulating insulin rises to some extent during and after meals, and then goes back down, to allow stored energy (fat) out of adipose tissue to feed us between meals. When insulin is low, fatty acids are free to leave adipose tissue to be metabolised. The limiting factor here is that the body has other mechanisms to limit just how much fat can be released in a single day. But in general, it is enough to allow us to go for hours between meals. On a well-formulated ketogenic diet, if you have excess fat to shed, you will be utilising fat from your adipose tissue along with the fat in your diet. This is why we recommend low-carb intake, moderate protein intake, and fat to satiety.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #13