• Lisa Carroll

10 Tips to Optimize Ketosis~Tip #10

Updated: Apr 9

My tenth tip for getting into and maintaining ketosis is:


Sleep is another important component in maintaining proper ketone levels, and therefore intertwines with my previous advice about managing your stress. Lack of sleep kickstarts a viscous hormonal cycle that can greatly impede ketosis.

When you don't get sufficient sleep, the body increases cortisol. Known as the stress hormone, cortisol has a direct influence on blood glucose levels and accumulation of belly fat. Elevated cortisol usually means higher blood sugar, followed by higher insulin and decreased ketone levels, all of which results in decreased fat burning. Research indicates that even one night of sleeplessness may lead to dramatic increases in cortisol. In one study, 33 men were evaluated in three groups over a 32-hour period; some slept for a regular eight hours, others slept half of that, and some got no sleep at all. Testing showed the subjects in the two sleep deprived groups had cortisol levels that varied considerably, increasing by 37% and 45%, respectively, for those who slept for four hours and those who didn’t get any sleep. Getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night is a definite no-go.

Lack of sleep kickstarts a viscous hormonal cycle that can greatly impede ketosis!

Lack of sleep also slows down your metabolism by having a direct impact on your resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is the number of calories an individual’s body burns when at complete rest. Although it was previously thought to be influenced solely by biological factors (such as age, weight, height, sex, and muscle mass), we now know that RMR is also influenced by sleep, or lack thereof. In a study of 15 men of similar age and BMI were kept awake for an entire day, their RMR declined 5% after just 24-hours of sleep deprivation, and their metabolic rate plunged to 80% of normal function.

Sleep deprivation disrupts dietary hormones by causing the brain to release irregular levels of hormones; this manipulation increases the level of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and decreases the level of the satiety hormone, leptin. This is why you can often feel hungrier after a poor night's rest, even if you haven’t exercised or reduced your food intake. Additionally, when the levels of these key hormones are affected, cells begin building resistance to insulin (which is the precursor to diabetes), and the body becomes predisposed to weight gain and obesity.

The number of health problems that can be cured or greatly improved by a getting full 7-8 hours of sleep per night is staggering. If you are eating a perfect ketogenic diet of virtually no carbs and still can’t establish or maintain nutritional ketosis, check your sleep! I bet you just might find it's a component you've been missing!

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