Less Carbs –> Better Sleep?

I haven’t heard this before:

My insomnia seems to have gone. This may be something to do with my bold adherence to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s low carb diet. I have not drunk and barely eaten a single gram of carbs for the last two and a half weeks. I am ten pounds lighter and I sleep like a baby. . . . I am attaining a steady seven and a half hours of unconsciousness nightly. This hasn’t happened in at least ten years, possibly more. I have also become optimistic, amiable and energetic.

Perhaps drinking less alcohol improved his sleep. This has nostalgic interest for me. A turning point in my self-experimentation came when I analyzed my data and saw that I started sleeping less exactly when I lost weight (by eating less processed food). In a complicated way this helped me discover that eating breakfast caused me to wake up too early.

Thanks to Dave Lull.

6 Replies to “Less Carbs –> Better Sleep?”

  1. I think the “You need breakfast for energy” meme is ultimately a canard. Also, ever since starting a hyperlipid diet, I too, have experienced better sleep.

  2. I recently started eating breakfast regularly and I’ve noticed positive results (strikingly less hunger throughout the day and evening, plus an overall more positive mood).

    The nice thing about breakfast is that it’s an easy meal to eat right. Because I eat alone for this meal, I can eat disgustingly healthy, organic food.

    Lunch and Dinner are different. I often eat out or invite people over for the two meals. Eating healthy food in a social setting is much more difficult.

    So I know that at least one meal I eat daily will be healthy.

  3. Hey Seth, the link you post in this post leads to an article by Brian Appleyard’s mood being effected by breaking his low-carb diet — very interesting, but it doesn’t seem related to the link title (Nassim Nicolas Taleb’s Low-Carb Diet) or to the relationship between sleep and carbs. What’s the connection?

    Also, the article’s description of his sudden mood change when he took in carbs is interesting, but wondering if it is suggesting something — that low-carb diets are bad for mood for instance. I have heard that it takes a couple weeks to adjust to low-carb, during which time you can feel tired and even sick, but that afterward you end up with more energy, a better metabolism that reduces body fat etc. So could Appleyard have been experiencing a temporary adjustment?

    I would definitely be interested in more discussion on this one as I’m reading more about, and increasingly convinced by, low-carb diets including so-called paleo-diets. Again, it may be a matter of personal physiology though, whose success is exposed through self-experimentation.


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