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Can Undereating Cause Insomnia?
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16 posts in this topic

Can it?

I have noticed that I feel the best when I eat nothing but fruits, vegetables, white rice, and lean meats. So of course, I treat to eat nothing but these, but when I do eat these I can never fall asleep. I usually have to gorge for a couple of hours on junk food before I can fall asleep. I also try to minimize my fat intake as much as possible because I do not seem to be digesting/absorbing it properly still.

I am also usually pretty busy, so it's hard to sit down and eat a big meal. So it's almost like I have to play catchup with calories before I go to sleep.

Could this just be stress related/in my head? Or is this possible? Thanks

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Do you still use dairy? Dairy causes my insomnia...took me 30 years to figure it out.

The food syou are eating are not undereating...it's much healthier than many people. Are you eating fruits with heavy syrup, or do you stick with light syrup, or fresh fruits. Do you drink caffiene coffee? Have you had a sleep study done? I never, in a million years, would of thought I had sleep apnea, and when my neuro ordered a sleep study done, I laughed. Well, I have sleep apnea, and have to use a CPAP every night...I also have 2 sons with sleep apnea. Are you on any meds...a change in diet, can change how a med works...the med may be too strong now if you are absorbing better without gluten.

The junk foods are not helping...you have to try to get away from that habit.

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Do you still use dairy? Dairy causes my insomnia...took me 30 years to figure it out.

The food syou are eating are not undereating...it's much healthier than many people. Are you eating fruits with heavy syrup, or do you stick with light syrup, or fresh fruits. Do you drink caffiene coffee? Have you had a sleep study done? I never, in a million years, would of thought I had sleep apnea, and when my neuro ordered a sleep study done, I laughed. Well, I have sleep apnea, and have to use a CPAP every night...I also have 2 sons with sleep apnea. Are you on any meds...a change in diet, can change how a med works...the med may be too strong now if you are absorbing better without gluten.

The junk foods are not helping...you have to try to get away from that habit.

I was off dairy completely for a year and recently just started to reintroduce casein, but no lactose. And even when I was off dairy I still had the same issues, so I don't think that has anything to do with it. And that's weird that you say that, they always say milk can help you fall asleep.

I always eat whole, fresh fruits, never canned or bottled. I do not drink soda or coffee, but do occasionally eat chocolate. I have never had a sleep study done.

I'm not on any meds, there have been no sudden changes in diet.

I only really eat the junk foods because A, they taste amazing, and B, without them I would not be getting enough calories.

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I only really eat the junk foods because A, they taste amazing, and B, without them I would not be getting enough calories.

Believe it or not, the junk food is probably part of the problem. You don't need them for the calories, you want them, there is a difference. You like them, and sometimes we justify eating something like this by saying we need it.

You can eat fresh fruit, banana's and grapes can add calories, much better calories than junk food. Junk food is empty calories, they are not good calories.

Do you go to bed at the same time every day, wake up at the same time every morning? Do you exercise at night, if so, switch to mornings. My sleep doc told me to keep the lights very bright until just before bedtime, then to dim them. Do you like to read? Could you read before bed, it's relaxing. Have you tried melatonin? My sleep doc first gave me Lunesta, which didn't work, then he gave me Sonata, which also doesn't work, and then I tried melatonin..I take 6 mg every night.

Yes, they do say warm milk before bed helps some, yet if you are intolerant of something, the rules change. I tested this theory, after being off dairy for 5 or 6 weeks, I tried it again, and the insomnia did come back. Believe me, I would never have believed dairy could do this, without living the situation.

Usually, a person with insomnia has a mind that wont rest. I still have this problem at times...depending on the stress during the day. So, try going to bed and rising at the same time every day..this is essential for a person with sleep issues. Research circadian sleep:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm

Ask your doctor about a sleep study. Insomnia is a symptom of sleep apnea. When you sleep, do you sometimes wake in a panic, maybe thinking you had a bad dream? This is another symptom of sleep apnea. Many people have this problem, and never knew it. I was shocked when the doctor wanted me tested for sleep apnea, and he was correct.

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I use to have problems. I finally took a year to get off the caffiene I was drinking, 2 liters of regular soda and several pots of coffee daily. Now I sleep great.

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Junk food? No. You don't get enough fats and protein out of fruits and vegetables to feed your body and stabilize your blood sugar. You can't sleep well with low blood sugar. Have a good protein meal with healthy dietary fats before bed.

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Junk food? No. You don't get enough fats and protein out of fruits and vegetables to feed your body and stabilize your blood sugar. You can't sleep well with low blood sugar. Have a good protein meal with healthy dietary fats before bed.

Here's my personal experience, much like the original poster's.

Say I'm going to bed at nine o'clock at night. If I have dinner at five (a normal time for most) and it's fish, broccoli, roasted potatos and corn, I'll be up all night from the hunger. I will be STARVING. Even if I ate two pounds worth of the food described. But, if I were to eat steak, sweet potatoes, and cheesy broccoli at 7 instead of 5, I'd sleep like a baby. Even at half the amount of the other food described. My digestive system is on CRACK and if I don't give it enough to do, I will be up all night. Before I went gluten free I used to wake up in the middle of the night and have to eat something I'd be so hungry, I literally went a year without sleeping through the night because of hunger.

So, my suggestions. Instead of plain meat, plain veggies and rice or other grain, go for the fat gold. But not by eating potato chips. I never eat chicken for dinner without pairing it with potatoes or sweet potatos, for the filling, slow-digesting starch, and soemthing fatty, like a nice pile of avocado or a veggie with cheese sauce. When your system has been malnourished, or is on crack like mine, it needs fat so your brain can feel satiated. Your brain needs fat and cholesterol to fire signals properly, and will just keep telling you it's hungry until it gets enough. Your digestive system is constructed very similarly to your brain, neurologically, in fact it's frequently called the 'second brain.' So depriving it of the proper fuel will make you hungry.

I sleep best when I've had a not-lean meat and a starchy veg for dinner, or if I've had dairy- mac and cheese or alfredo. In fact, when I've had trouble sleeping, my go-to fix is pasta alfredo with chicken. My recipe for alfredo calls for one stick butter, one package cream cheese, one cup milk, one cup parmesan. Most people would freak, but it sure puts me to sleep. Even if I skip the pasta and put the alfredo sauce all over veggies and chicken, it's not the starch that does it. So I figure your brain is pissed, and you need to soothe it. Try burger patties with cheese and homefries for dinner, or my alfredo recipe over chicken, diced green pepper, red pepper, and onion. This particular veggie combo tastes best when sauteed in butter, by the way.

Just what works for me, since my problem sounds like yours. Hope this helps!

:D

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Thanks everyone for the responses. Last night while I was unable to sleep my theory was confirmed.

According to a Harvard study:

Scientists have long known that our circadian rhythm is regulated by our exposure to light. Now they have found a second "food clock" that takes over when we are hungry. This mechanism probably evolved to make sure starving mammals don't go to sleep when they should be foraging for food.

Taken from: http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-naturally-...cycle-overnight

I thought this was very interesting and could actually be part of the reason why so many Celiacs have issues with sleep.

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Gfresh- I can definitely relate to you. When I was my sickest and couldn't keep anything in my stomach (D after everything I ate), I ate very little to be able to get through the day without incident.........and consequently, I had major insomnia. I've never had sleep problems before and I take no medications. I used to have no problem falling alseep, but would wake up at like 3am and not be able to fall back asleep til 6am. It was pretty bad. Now, when I find I haven't eaten enough throughout the day, the same thing happens. I have no studies or science to back this up, just my own observations with my body.

I'm sorry, I disagree with Deb. Maybe you DO need those calories. I agree that the calories could come from somewhere healthier than junk food (although depends what you mean by junk food...dark chocolate is good), but more bananas, grapes, etc is not the answer if that's what you already say you're eating. I imagine you are already eating fruits, as you say. I would suggest adding nuts (maybe some almonds) into your diet. I know you say you have problems with fat digesting, but I think you may need to try to add some healthy fat into your diet, since it seems like it's high in carbs. Or maybe experiment with protein? Do you eat beans? Maybe you could dip the veggies you eat in a bean dip? That will add calories if you normally eat your veggies plain. What about nut butter? You can eat very little of that and up your calories a lot.

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Gfresh- I can definitely relate to you. When I was my sickest and couldn't keep anything in my stomach (D after everything I ate), I ate very little to be able to get through the day without incident.........and consequently, I had major insomnia. I've never had sleep problems before and I take no medications. I used to have no problem falling alseep, but would wake up at like 3am and not be able to fall back asleep til 6am. It was pretty bad. Now, when I find I haven't eaten enough throughout the day, the same thing happens. I have no studies or science to back this up, just my own observations with my body.

I'm sorry, I disagree with Deb. Maybe you DO need those calories. I agree that the calories could come from somewhere healthier than junk food (although depends what you mean by junk food...dark chocolate is good), but more bananas, grapes, etc is not the answer if that's what you already say you're eating. I imagine you are already eating fruits, as you say. I would suggest adding nuts (maybe some almonds) into your diet. I know you say you have problems with fat digesting, but I think you may need to try to add some healthy fat into your diet, since it seems like it's high in carbs. Or maybe experiment with protein? Do you eat beans? Maybe you could dip the veggies you eat in a bean dip? That will add calories if you normally eat your veggies plain. What about nut butter? You can eat very little of that and up your calories a lot.

I really think I DO need the calories too. Unfortunately I'm in college and it's a little hard to reach that 1400 calorie minimum without popping a donut or two. But other than that I think I pretty healthy, especially for a college student. Nuts ARE actually my main source of fat even though I do not seem to be fully absorbing them. I definitely get enough protein, I mostly only eat high quality lean meats, ie. free range chicken w/o antibiotics or shrimp. And I am still having some issues with too much fiber, mainly the insoluble kind. And I try to eat peanut butter, but I always have to take an enzyme or two just to keep them down.

One thing I have noticed is that exercise helps a lot. Just going for a scoot (my entire suite has razor scooters, we think we're cool) around campus helps me fall asleep a lot. Even though I am probably burning more calories in the end.

I really think the junk food is fine, it is moderation for the most part and I am still making sure I am getting enough micro-nutrients. I always make sure I get at least 3 servings of fruits and veggies a day, which is probably pretty damn good for a college student.

And thanks for your response. It always helps to know that someone else went through/is going through the same stuff as I am.

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Believe it or not, the junk food is probably part of the problem. You don't need them for the calories, you want them, there is a difference. You like them, and sometimes we justify eating something like this by saying we need it.

You can eat fresh fruit, banana's and grapes can add calories, much better calories than junk food. Junk food is empty calories, they are not good calories.

Do you go to bed at the same time every day, wake up at the same time every morning? Do you exercise at night, if so, switch to mornings. My sleep doc told me to keep the lights very bright until just before bedtime, then to dim them. Do you like to read? Could you read before bed, it's relaxing. Have you tried melatonin? My sleep doc first gave me Lunesta, which didn't work, then he gave me Sonata, which also doesn't work, and then I tried melatonin..I take 6 mg every night.

Yes, they do say warm milk before bed helps some, yet if you are intolerant of something, the rules change. I tested this theory, after being off dairy for 5 or 6 weeks, I tried it again, and the insomnia did come back. Believe me, I would never have believed dairy could do this, without living the situation.

Usually, a person with insomnia has a mind that wont rest. I still have this problem at times...depending on the stress during the day. So, try going to bed and rising at the same time every day..this is essential for a person with sleep issues. Research circadian sleep:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm

Ask your doctor about a sleep study. Insomnia is a symptom of sleep apnea. When you sleep, do you sometimes wake in a panic, maybe thinking you had a bad dream? This is another symptom of sleep apnea. Many people have this problem, and never knew it. I was shocked when the doctor wanted me tested for sleep apnea, and he was correct.

I disagree, I NEED the calories. Without them my total caloric intake would only be around 1100, which is way too low for someone who is my age (19) and active, and exercising almost every other day.

I have tried reading before bed, I lay there with my stomach telling me to go eat something.

The problem with eating healthy all the time is that the foods are always so low in calories.

Lately I have just been actually listening to my body, eating what I want while still trying to be healthy, and I have been able to fall asleep for the most part.

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I, too, have major insomnia issues. I read somewhere to not eat three hours before going to be as digestion could cause insomnia. That doesn't help.

I know I don't process fats. I think I'll try avacado tonight as one of you suggested and see if I can process that kind of fat.

I went the sleep study route about four years ago. Found out I don't sleep enough. Lots of money down the drain as that was the reason for the study. I do not have sleep apnea. I just cannot sleep. I know my body is deprived of nutrients and I feel that is why I am not sleeping. Sure hope avoiding gluten, dairy, soy and eggs will help in the long run. I think there may be other food sensitivities that I am not able to pinpoint that may also be causing the insomnia.

I always felt my insomnia was due to anxiety. I've had a few nights when I am extremely anxious and I got a pretty decent amount of sleep. Other times I can feel so relaxed and not sleep.

I had one professional tell me I'm falling between the cracks. I want to crack this one, get some decent sleep and finally have some energy.

Another suggestion I received is to forget about sleep and concentrate on relaxation. It's hard to forget about sleep when I am so deprived.

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I realize that this is an old thread but I wanted to share a similar experience.

I have noticed that when I cut back on my food, I have a tendency to start having insomnia. If I skip a meal or if I don't get enough protein, I also get insomnia. If I stick to 3 meals, but cut back my portion sizes too much, I also have insomnia. I found this thread while doing a search for insomnia and undereating because I'm trying to figure out why this happens.

I suspect that it has something to do with blood sugar imbalances. It is pretty frustrating because I want to decrease my weight and sometimes I don't feel like eating or don't feel like eating much but I have to force myself to eat more in order to not have insomnia.

One thing that I have found that helps if I do have insomnia - especially if I wake up during the middle of the night and have trouble going to sleep is to have either a snack or something sweet. I find that grape juice works really well because it's quick and easy. I'm guessing that the (middle of the night) insomnia is caused by low blood sugar and the grape juice or snack raises my blood sugar enabling me to sleep.

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Low blood sugar can keep you from sleeping like nothing else.

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Under eating can definitely throw off your brain chemistry and possibly make it more difficult to sleep. I do short 7 day fasts and it can affect my sleeping greatly. Surprisingly, I will usually have more energy and not have to sleep as much.

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Hello,

As someone who has dieted most of my adult life due to this WONDERFUL problem we all have, I can answer your question now that I've seen your calorie intake in a follow-up post.

You are probably in dietary ketosis (meaning you are burning your own fat) by the time you go to bed. This can happen when you are dieting and burning your fat stores. It can most DEFINITELY give you insomnia. Your body can get racy and not want to sleep.

The only two things (and sometimes a combination) that help is: 1) Eat a decent sized meal within 2 hours of going to bed. 2) Eat carbohydrates before going to bed.

It really has nothing to do with junk food being your cure. Your "junk food" is probably a carbohydrate load right? Even if you eat some meat & veggies, be sure to add a potato or something in there to make your body settle down & sleep.

If you are in deep enough dietary ketosis, you can even get restless leg syndrome and have trouble staying asleep. If you are not trying to lose weight, graze more during the day, and eat your larger meal toward the evening. With a little practice you'll find what your body will tolerate digesting while you sleep.

Good luck!

FooGirlsMom

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