Carbohydrates & Insomnia - How Specific Foods Can Affect Your Sleep

Insomnia and Carbohydrates

Choose your daily meals wisely to improve your health

fitFLEX Articles - Learn, Share and Discover



Let's start of with a common scenario to help answer the topic with greater detail. Let's take a 38-year-old bodybuilder who has been weight training for 10 years. Recently they have been very strict with their diet in order to fine-tune weight loss results, especially the abs. All is going well, but they seem to wake up two to three times a night hungry, craving something sweet. They are about 5'9" and 205lbs. Diet consists of 2000 calories, with some of those calories coming from 200 g of protein and 80 g of carbs. Now, with this knowledge in hand, what is the individual to do about their nighttime insomnia and craving for sugar?

Difficulty sleeping? Craving sugar? I've got two words for you: low carbs. You see, cutting carbohydrates from your diet can result in several unpleasant symptoms, including low energy levels, feeling light-headed, craving sugar, and sleeping difficulty (insomnia). Carb depletion can benefit body-builders when they need to reduce bodyfat. However, keeping carbs low for long periods is likely to be hazardous to any attempts at building muscle. Remember that your workouts are fueled by carbohydrate and that your muscles need the stuff to grow.


You will not find a precise cutoff value that constitutes a low carb intake. The amount is variable depending on one s bodyweight and daily calorie requirement. Zero carbs is obviously an extreme measure, but typically the irritable symptoms of carb depletion tend to manifest when your daily carbohydrate intake falls below 150 g or your carb-to-calorie ratio drops to less than 30 percent of your total daily calorie consumption. In your case, at a bodyweight of 205 pounds, 80 g of carbs per day is undoubtedly low. If you protein equate to 800 calories, which account for 40 percent of your daily total calorie consumption. The 80 g of carbohydrate in your diet generates only 320 calories, or 16 percent of your daily total. If your figures are correct, the protein and carbs account for 1120 calories, slightly over half your daily total intake. Where are the remaining 880 calories coming from then? Dietary fat? Something ain't right want to alleviate the insomnia and sugar cravings, you d be wise then to include some more carbs in your diet. Add a portion of rice, pasta or potatoes to one or more of your daily meals and see how your symptoms respond.

You might also want to recalculate your dietary intake. At a bodyweight of 205 pounds, you write you're eating 2000 calories a day with 200 g of protein, correct? Your protein intake then is almost 1g per pound of bodyweight per day. These 200 g of here. If you are struggling with difficult dietary calculations, check out my new book, Men's Body Sculpting. I've done the math for you in the book, making carb cutting easy. All you have to do is locate your bodyweight in the book's chart and then read off the daily nutrient values.





Related Articles