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I am going crazy: insomnia and low fat diet?

Hi everyone Ever since I started eating lower fat (15-20% per day) I simply can’t fall asleep. NEVER in my entire 38 years have i ever had difficulty falling asleep. NEVER. But for the past week, I lie in bed for hours. At first I thought—”oh cool, i just don’t need as much sleep” but when I am awakened at 7 by my kids I can barely move I am so tired. Yet when I try and take a nap, if I have the chance later in the day, I can’t sleep either.

I don’t know what to do. This is affecting my whole life negatively. Anyone know what might be happening?



  • SuperfoodSuperfood Raw Newbie

    Can you tell us what you’re eating and what times, your work and exercise schedule?

  • Hi superfood—thank god someone is online now, i am really going nuts. I just found this link: http://www.calorie-count.com/forums/post/71507…. which i found very enlightening.

    My daily caloric intake is low at about 1200-1500 calories a day, although yesterday I ate 2000 calories and STILL couldn’t sleep. I eat in the mornings after my run at 8 am: a green smoothie with bananas, berries, kale, flax seed. At around 12 noon I will have a HUGE salad with tomatoes, hemp, a bit of olive oil or flax oil, lemon, carrots, whatever is in the fridge. I will have a snack of fruit or bananas one or two times throughout the day (usually eat 4-6 bananas a day) and then for dinner I will have another salad or a small amount of cooked grain. My fat percentage is somewhere between 15 and 22%.

    My last meal is at 7 pm. I go to bed at 11 or so, and now it’s 1:30 am and I am still awake. This morning I awoke at 6;30 or 7 and ran 4.5 miles, but I don’t think I will be able to do that tomorrow. When i get so little sleep I simply can’t run. I run 5x a week between 3 and 6 miles each time.

    I am at my wits end here. I am going to make myself a snack as that link suggested that undereating may cause insomnia. Strangely though,besides the fatigue, I feel great during the day—I don’t feel hungry at all except at meal times, and I eat til I am full.

  • it might not necessarily be food related…are you stressed or worried about something, even if it’s not completely obvious? I get anxiety a lot without even realizing it – my mom will be the one to notice – and it’ll keep me up for a whole week. My mom tries to get me to realize it by asking what I’m stressed about, and I’ll deny being stressed, but the truth is I am a fairly anxious person haha. So if you’re feeling fine food wise, it could be some underlying event/stressor, just a thought.

  • SuperfoodSuperfood Raw Newbie

    Yeah, your diet sounds good. Are you eating sprouts and different types of seeds/nuts in small amounts, such as Brazil and pumpkin?

  • nah, it’s not that Liz. Nothing stressful really is going on, and seriously, i’ve lived through some major stress in my life. i feel strongly that it’s food related…just sense it.

  • superfood-some nuts, brazil yes, no pumpkin seeds but looked for some today—they were too pricey where i was shopping.

    the more i thnk about it, the more i think it’s undereating. but it’s hard for me to get my calories up without upping the fat.

  • SuperfoodSuperfood Raw Newbie

    Sprouts and/or pumpkin seeds are good sources of zinc. Have you put your food info in Fitday? Most likely, on ANY diet, if you aren’t getting enough calories, your nutrition is lacking somewhere or multiple places.

  • littlegemslittlegems Raw Newbie

    Hi, I’m new here, and fairly new to eating a RAW diet. However, I have been a vegetarian since I was 17 (more than half my life) and definitely recognize that feeling. When I was 19 I ended up severely anemic from not eating enough iron. I would be exhausted and emotionally a wreck all day, but at night had insomnia. Since then, whenever I start to feel like that, I always boost my iron intake. If you don’t want to take any supplements, I’d recommend eating a ton of beets, that’s what I eat and I usually start feeling better the same day!

  • SuperfoodSuperfood Raw Newbie

    Would you believe it’s 430 my time (a.m.) and I’m still awake! I took your insomnia! Please tell me you’re cured. :p

  • me, too! I just figured it was something else, perhaps stress, but I’m wide awake, it’s 3:30 a.m. and I’ve been tossing and turning all night… as usual. I just am not sleeping well. Now I wonder if it’s the low fat.

  • hey all-well, i ended up getting to sleep at 4:30 my time, and then woke up at 6:30. I am off for a run, which i am quite sure will end with me hobbling home pathetically. I don’t know what is going on, but the concept of iron deficiency resonates with me. I will get some iron supplements today—i have been anemic in the past.

    superfood—did you get to sleep? Littlebirdie?

  • SuperfoodSuperfood Raw Newbie

    Hey, no sleep. I soaked some buckwheat and nuts for food for me and went to the store to get some items to make a few cooked (vegan) things for my boyfriend. I also walked for an hour and a half. NO energy problems! :)

  • superfood-well, i got 2 hours of sleep—seriously, not a minute more. Got up at 6:30 and went for my fastest 4.5 miles run ever…37 minutes. What the hell is going on? So weird. I went to the drugstore and got some slow release iron pills-i’ve been anemic before and was hospitalized for a week, so in this case, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

    Do you think you’ll hit the wall? my guess is i will start feeling exhausted around 11 am.

  • SuperfoodSuperfood Raw Newbie

    Yeah, I’ll probably be taking a nap later….definitely no iron issues for me. I hope it gets better for you as the day goes on! Good run!!

  • how do you know you have no iron issues? just curious!

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    i heard it was that raw vegans need less sleep. but if you are tired that is no good. nycgrrl, you can get your iron levels tested with a blood test if you want to.

    i have the opposite problem but i am still recovering from mono. i sleep about 10-12 hours a night. but i’ve had insomnia in the past and i have had good luck with kava and valerian.

  • Sorry to hear the negative effects of this on you nycgrrl. Yea, I’m so messed up too. I think it’s almost beyond repair. It does sound like it’s food related – especially since you know your body better than anyone. I agree with bitt on the blood test. It’s a fingerprick and the results are instant. You may want to get a blood panel done from your gyn. just to get a baseline also on what may be going on chemically and hormonally. 38 is still young, but hormonal changes could be on the horizon.

    The number of calories you are taking in with the physical training is not balanced. You need more calories and maybe more fat. Don’t try to do 811 either, (if you’re thinking about it), as you need to be getting adequate, restful sleep with that program.

  • hey mamamilik and bitt-thanks. Well, last night I slept a solid 8 hours, thank God. I feel better. I started taking iron pills, just to see what happens. Mamamilk-right now I am not doing 811, but ‘modified’ low fat—about 15-20% of my calories from fat. And you’re right, I am not eating enough calories at all. I don’t think it’s hormonal though, at least I am hoping it’s not. I am going to concentrate on eating more. I find that if I have a cup or so of whole grains (cooked) at night, Ifeel better, and can sleep better. that’s probably just a calorie density thing, rather than a cooked thing, although I do think cooked grains can make one sleepy.

  • I think I just need less sleep, but I’m so used to getting a lot more sleep that it’s messing with my mind. And bitt is right – kava is wonderful if you can’t sleep and you need to sleep. I may try that this week, actually.

    I haven’t had a good night’s sleep, though, in a week. Too much going on at home, too many things to juggle. Stress is a killer. I am trying to find moments where I can be alone and meditate, that always helps.

  • SuperfoodSuperfood Raw Newbie

    Hey again. Glad you got some sleep last night!

    I know I don’t have iron issues because of what I eat, the volume, and how I feel.

  • SuzicalSuzical Raw Newbie

    nycgrrl – you might want to buy yourself a jar of coconut oil and incorporate that into your daily diet. Something about it is just soothing and nurturing.

    Also, I sleep like a brick and have been eating really well and I’ve encountered the specter of insomnia these past weeks.

    I am thinking that something in the Cosmic Vibe is getting “tweaked”, and consequently, so are we…

    Good luck!

  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    Ok y’all~ Not fair! Is insomnia contagious over the internet? Good news. Bad news… Bad news: I couldn’t get to sleep last night. Didn’t see my bed until about 4:30am and still couldn’t sleep right away. I’ve had a few moments of sleep and then I got up for a morning conference call that I didn’t want to miss. I’m am soooo going to work on napping for a bit. Good news: My office is almost packed! That’s what I did instead of sleep. I thought I would only do a few things and then get tired… NOT… one drawer led to another to another area to another box…

  • evergreenevergreen Raw Master

    Deepak Chopra,M.D. says:

    you can often reset your biological rhythms by staying up all night and avoid napping the next day.

    also some info here :)

  • lzhptlzhpt Raw Newbie

    NYC girl & all—I have had this problem for months! I’ll be 45 in a month so I’m attributing it to hormonal changes as it is much worse pre-menstrually. Most nights I don’t fall asleep until 3:00am and I sleep until 7am. Some nights I have had no sleep at all! Most of the time, I function quite well, exercising, working. I have no fatigue during the day. I almost feel like my whole clock is off. Some things I KNOW I cannot do-like have cacao after 3pm. I too start the day w/ a green smoothie or whole fruit. 2-3 pm is a larger meal, salad or raw nori roll or raw dip w/ veggies, might have some cacao here or dates w/ almond butter, salad w/ dressing in the evening. Reading a good novel and self-massage w/ coccnut oil before bed has helped and I’m better if i choose Yoga or Gyrokinesis for movement during the day vs. running or spinning. Within 2 weeks of going raw more than 2 years ago, sleep was sleep and awake was really awake. It was that clear. Why the reverse now?

  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    evergreen~ Thankx for the article and the Chopra info. Sometimes I can stay up during the day after not sleeping the night. However, today is one of those days where the brain is a bit foggy (I’ll be better able to read the article later) and I’m a bit nauseous (I think I just added a misspelled word to my dictionary! Ugg… brain fart!). This usually indicates low resources to deal with the lack of sleep, very overtired, and needing a bit of sleep.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    heh heh, bluedolphin i’ve done that too, misspelled word to the dictionary.

    I’m going through this sleep pattern in the past few nights where I sleep my normal amount of 10 hours then the next night need only 6. I think I am re-adjusting from my illness and previously needing too much sleep.

    So what amount of sleep is normal for a raw food eater? I have heard we need less over time.

  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    bitt~ You know the answer to that, you silly goose. You have been around long enough. What’s the mantra? Each body is different. Listen to your body. :)

  • MarichiesaMarichiesa Raw Newbie

    I wonder if the recent eclipse had anything to do with the no sleeping?! I have not been sleeping either. Wide awake until 2:00. Tossing and turning until 7:00AM. But on the whole I feel pretty good. weird.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    ok bluedophin but this thread was throwing me off to that. Or maybe I was overtired. :-P

  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    bitt~ Too funny. lol I wish that Kandace would have the mantra on every page. We, including the “scientists”, are all shooting in the dark. That is why one thing works for one person and doesn’t for another. There might be some common factors, but those are minuscule compared to the differences. Trying to figure out what is going on is like being on a scavenger hunt where each clue is based on the path you take to it, who you are, and other clues. Everything is in constant flux. If you get “overtired” again, write the mantra on a card and stick it on your monitor. :) BTW, your picture in the version that is posted with your posts looks like you have a headset on. I had to go to your profile to see that you have something in your mouth and the blue thing to the left of your head is the sofa edge.

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