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Keto and Sleep: Does the Diet Affect Your Sleep Cycle?

In this article, I will be taking you how the Keto diet can affect your sleep cycle and how you can counter it. The ketogenic diet, popularly known as “keto,” has gained significant traction for its potential benefits in weight loss, blood sugar control, and even certain neurological disorders. However, its impact on sleep remains a topic of debate and individual experiences can vary greatly. This article explores the potential effects of the keto diet on sleep, delving into both the potential benefits and drawbacks related to sleep quality.

Can Keto Improve Sleep?

Proponents of the keto diet often cite improved sleep as a potential benefit. This might be attributed to several factors:

  • Reduced inflammation: Studies suggest a potential link between chronic inflammation and sleep disturbances. The anti-inflammatory properties of the keto diet, due to its emphasis on healthy fats and reduced intake of processed foods, might contribute to improved sleep quality by reducing underlying inflammation [1].
  • Hormonal regulation: The keto diet may positively impact certain hormones that influence sleep. Ghrelin, known as the “hunger hormone,” can be suppressed on keto, potentially promoting better sleep by reducing hunger pangs that could interrupt sleep [2]. Additionally, the keto diet may stabilize insulin levels, which can indirectly improve sleep quality as insulin dysregulation has been linked to sleep disturbances.
  • Improved satiety: The high-fat content in the keto diet can promote feelings of fullness and satiety, potentially reducing night-time cravings or hunger pangs that might disrupt sleep.
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Scientific Evidence: However, research on the direct impact of the keto diet on sleep quality is still ongoing and inconclusive. While some studies have shown potential improvements in sleep quality for individuals with specific conditions like sleep apnea [3], others haven’t observed significant changes in sleep patterns for healthy individuals.

Potential Sleep Disruptions on Keto

Conversely, some individuals might experience temporary sleep disruptions during the initial stages of the keto diet, commonly referred to as the “keto flu.” This can be attributed to several factors:

  • Electrolyte imbalances: Electrolytes like magnesium and potassium play a crucial role in sleep regulation. Changes in electrolyte levels during the adaptation to ketosis can lead to restless sleep, insomnia, or waking up feeling unrefreshed.
  • Hormonal fluctuations: The body undergoes hormonal adjustments during the transition to ketosis. These fluctuations can temporarily disrupt sleep patterns until the body adapts to the new metabolic state[4].
  • Changes in gut bacteria: The keto diet can alter gut bacteria composition, which may influence sleep quality indirectly as gut health is increasingly linked to sleep regulation.

Important Note: These potential sleep disruptions are generally considered temporary and usually resolve within a few days to weeks as the body adjusts to ketosis. However, if sleep disturbances persist or become severe, consulting a healthcare professional is essential.

Strategies for Improved Sleep on Keto

Whether you experience positive or negative sleep impacts on keto, several strategies can help promote better sleep:

  • Prioritize electrolyte balance: Ensure adequate intake of electrolytes through dietary sources like leafy greens, avocado, nuts, and fatty fish, or consider consulting a healthcare professional about appropriate supplements.
  • Maintain consistent sleep hygiene: Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure a cool, dark, and quiet sleep environment. It is recommended that you get at least eight hours of sleep. Adequate sleep ensures that you are active all day.
  • Manage stress: Stress can significantly disrupt sleep quality. Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or calming activities before bed.
  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can worsen sleep quality. Aim for adequate water intake throughout the day. It is recommended that you take at least 8 glasses of water or two litres per day. Remember that about 60% of your body is made up of water, so you can see how important water is.
  • Gradual transition: Consider a gradual reduction in carbohydrates to ease the body into ketosis and potentially minimize sleep disruptions.
  • Seek professional guidance: If sleep disturbances persist or become severe, consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions and ensure the keto diet is suitable for you.


The relationship between the keto diet and sleep is complex and can vary significantly from person to person. While some might experience improved sleep quality, others might face temporary disruptions during the initial adaptation phase. The key lies in understanding the potential effects, implementing strategies to support healthy sleep habits, and seeking professional guidance if needed. Remember, a good night’s sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, regardless of your dietary approach.


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By Henf Henf

Am Henfrey Wangulu, a Clinical Officer/Physician associate based in Kenya. I am a Tech and Health enthusiast and in my free time, I like Swimming, Art and socializing with other people

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