Have You Been FAST Asleep?

Intermittent fasting may enhance sleep quality. Learn more about this popular health trend.

By Joe Castignani

Intermittent fasting has soared in popularity and is one of the most popular trends in health and fitness today. Among its many potential health benefits is its positive influence on sleep. Let’s dive into intermittent fasting, where every bite counts!

How does intermittent fasting work?

This eating pattern involves restricting food intake to specific windows, allowing the body to enter "fasting mode" for the rest of the day. Individuals adopt schedules like 16:8, eating within an eight-hour period and fasting for 16 hours.

Beyond its weight loss benefits, research indicates that intermittent fasting may enhance sleep quality by reinforcing circadian rhythms. These rhythms govern bodily functions, including the sleep-wake cycle, and are typically regulated by sunlight. However, meal timing, a secondary circadian "time cue," can influence these rhythms as well with surprising sleep benefits.

The positive benefits include improved sleep quality, reduced nighttime awakenings, and increased time spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is pivotal for emotional and mental processing, leading to overall better mood and focus.

But the timing of meals matters! Irregular eating times, especially late-night consumption, may disrupt sleep patterns. Maintaining a consistent eating schedule is crucial for optimal sleep.

Here are some tips for better sleep while practicing intermittent fasting:

Avoid Going to Bed Hungry: Schedule your last meal at least three hours before bedtime to prevent disruptions from digestion without going to bed hungry, ensuring a more restful sleep.

Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can lead to poorer sleep quality, so ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day. Caffeine and alcohol intake can affect sleep negatively.

Choose Healthy Foods: Whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins and fats not only align with intermittent fasting goals but also promote better sleep.

Find Your Rhythm: Allow yourself flexibility as you adjust to intermittent fasting. Experiment with different fasting periods to discover what works best for your body and sleep routine.

What we have learned

Adopting the consistent eating schedule of intermittent fasting with other healthy sleep habits may contribute to a more rejuvenating and fulfilling sleep experience.