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Question
Posted by: Y | 2009-11-04

My solution for chronic insomnia

Hi,

I wonder if you have come accross the following before?

I' ve started having sleep problems in 2002 after following a dietician-recommended fat-free diet. The longer I followed the diet the less time I seemed to be able to stay asleep at night. After following the diet for three months I wasn' t able to stay asleep for more than 1.5 to 2 hours per night (although I fell asleep very easily at my normal bed time).

One day, after about 5 consecutive nights of less than 2 hours sleep per night, I was just too tired to make diet food and instead just made myself a sandwich thickly spread with peanutbutter (which contains about 50% fat). That night I slept 4.5 hours. The next day I deliberately ate fat again and slept 5 hours. Needless to say, I stopped following the diet.

Since this experience the amount of time that I' m able to stay asleep at night seems to be directly corrolated to how much fat I include in my diet. Eating the generally recommended 3 portions of fat per day means I only sleep about 4-5 hours per night. Eating 5 to 6 portions of fat a day allows me more normal sleeping time of about 7 hours (8 when I' m really lucky, but this is not often).

Secondly, supplementation with a high dosage vitamin B complex (such as Bettaway Mega-B) in the morning, helps the quality of my sleep. When I haven' t taken the vitamin B (in addition to a general multivitamin which usually contains fairly low dosages of vitamin B), for about a week or two I start experiencing " restless"  sleep. In other words, I sleep, but it feels as if I' m semi-awake half of the night. Or I wake up and feel anxious (for no cause) and are unable to get back to sleep for an hour or two. I' ve tested this and if I remain without vitamin-B supplementation for longer than 2 week I start having vitamin-B deficiency symptoms such as torn mouth corners / dry lips. I now believe restless sleep to be a early symptom of vitamin B deficiency. I don' t know if there are any studies that have worked on this but it would be interesting to know.

Just wanted to share my experience and because I wanted to know if you know of any studies about the relationship between diet and sleep.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageSleep Expert

If you have a very low fat diet, you will be breaking down the fats in your body for energy purposes. One of the products of that breakdown is a substance which is highly stimulating, and will keep you awake.

If you develop symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency after 2 weeks of not taking supplements, it means that your basic diet is deficient in vitamin B. Lack of vitamin B affects nerve function, and gives a restlessness which will often keep people awake.

The moral of the story: we have been through millions of years of evolution, and are designed by it to require a balanced diet. Extreme diets of any shape or form are not good for us. "In all things moderation".

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Sleep expert | 2009-11-05

If you have a very low fat diet, you will be breaking down the fats in your body for energy purposes. One of the products of that breakdown is a substance which is highly stimulating, and will keep you awake.

If you develop symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency after 2 weeks of not taking supplements, it means that your basic diet is deficient in vitamin B. Lack of vitamin B affects nerve function, and gives a restlessness which will often keep people awake.

The moral of the story: we have been through millions of years of evolution, and are designed by it to require a balanced diet. Extreme diets of any shape or form are not good for us. "In all things moderation".

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