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What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 06:18
I started 5:2 again 5 weeks ago and insomnia is my biggest problem so far. Almost every night after a fastday I wake up way too early (somewhere between 3 and 5 am) and can't sleep anymore. This means I hardly ever feel fit after a fastday. I already use melatonin, which makes me fall asleep rather easily, but the last 5 weeks I hardly ever slept through the night after a fastday. I already eat my total amount of 500 calories in the evening to prevent an empty stomach when lying in bed. I started taking magnesium, but haven't noticed any difference.

Does anyone have the golden tip? I am close to quitting 5:2...
Re: What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 06:31
Hi Rasa,
Many of us have found insomnia a problem and it does pass. Have a look in the fasting library section in the trouble shooting section and there is a link to problems with sleep which may help. I still occasionally struggle, but find the high dose magnesium definitely helps.
Good luck! :clover:
Re: What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 07:32
Hi @Rasa I also struggle with insomnia on all days since I started menopause 7 years ago. Fast days were really bad for insomnia at first but it did get better. Vitamin D first thing in the morning as well as magnesium at night seems to help. I tried melatonin but found it didn't help much as it's not the falling asleep I have trouble with but the staying asleep.

The insomnia was one reason I changed to 16:8 fasting after 8 months of 5:2.

The tips in the article Debs highlights may be helpful.

Good luck.
Re: What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 10:08
Hi @Rasa, I'm also vegetarian. Being post menopause I don't need another reason to have trouble sleeping, but the only time I can definitely trace insomnia to 5:2, I had a very carby dinner (baked potato) and woke up in the middle of the night starving! (had to get up and eat chickenless strips cold out of the fridge)

I focus on protein, a bit of fat, and veggies for my main meal. A couple of times when I've been lazy/short on time I've had soup, but it doesn't fill me up enough. I usually have a frozen yogurt bar within an hour or two of bed; I think that the dairy helps, and the bit of sugar can help increase serotonin. (Sugar earlier in the day makes me hungry, so....)

Sometimes I use herbal tinctures that help with sleep; something with valerian, hops, passionflower, poppy, etc. May need to experiment to find what works for you. Just worrying about not sleeping can make it worse, so relax about it. (I know it's hard, you keep thinking about how tired you'll be the next day, but it doesn't help.)
Re: What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 11:51
I am menopausal and have slept poorly, always waking up at 1 am and 3 am and tossing and turning...
I got so fed up that I looked it up on the Internet. The Internet suggested shorter sleep. I have tried it. I go to bet at 11pm. and I get up at 5 am. I sleep so well. I am a different person. I hate alarm clocks. So I got a light that wakes me up between 5:15 and 5:45. A gentle way of waking up. I also have a back up ring on my phone by the bed, in case I don't wake up to the light. The phone goes off at 5:45. I sleep so well.. I am a different person. Life is wonderful.
I talked this over with my doctor, and he said that a shorter good quality sleep was preferable over longer, bad quality sleep. Whether this will work for anyone else I do not know. I am 58 years old. "little old ladies" need less sleep than they used to!!!
Re: What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 14:37
Thanks for your response and advice! I just checked the mentioned library section. I will try taking magnesium before bedtime (now I take it before dinner) and save a little snack for later in the evening.

I hope it's not menopause, because I am 'only' 40. I already only eat vegetables, one piece of fruit and some source of protein on my fastdays. I haven't tried vitamin D yet. And maybe I should have a little patience.

I try not to worry when I wake up too early, but can't prevent a 'here we go again' feeling when I wake up around 4 am in the morning...
Re: What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 16:18
Margotsylvia wrote: I am menopausal and have slept poorly, always waking up at 1 am and 3 am and tossing and turning...
I got so fed up that I looked it up on the Internet. The Internet suggested shorter sleep. I have tried it. I go to bet at 11pm. and I get up at 5 am. I sleep so well. I am a different person. I hate alarm clocks. So I got a light that wakes me up between 5:15 and 5:45. A gentle way of waking up. I also have a back up ring on my phone by the bed, in case I don't wake up to the light. The phone goes off at 5:45. I sleep so well.. I am a different person. Life is wonderful.
I talked this over with my doctor, and he said that a shorter good quality sleep was preferable over longer, bad quality sleep. Whether this will work for anyone else I do not know. I am 58 years old. "little old ladies" need less sleep than they used to!!!


I agree with going to sleep later. Here are a few other ideas:

Eat fat and protein for supper (MCT fat and L-tryptophan eg in turkey)
Take your Omega-3's at night
Raw honey is supposed to be good. It raises blood glucose and gets you to sleep faster
Supplements:
Magnesium and Potassium in combo
Vit D (take in the morning), 5HTP and Melatonin as already suggested on threads on FastDay.
L-Theanine or GABA. (I take a combined L-Theanine, 5-HTP and Melatonin supplement)
Ornithine is supposed to be good but never tried it.

And most important - no electronic devices 3 hours before bed!
Re: What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 18:23
I'm not going to be a lot of help but I also have trouble staying asleep/waking too early after a fast day, and I have been fasting for nearly two years, and I am not menopausal (I'm 35). I tried a lot of different combinations of meals, meal and snack, supplements, but didn't see any real improvements, so I have been mostly using an eating window instead of properly fasting, which means that I sleep better. A hope you find a solution!
Re: What to do about insomnia?
19 Dec 2014, 18:28
Re vitamin D: most overweight people are low in vitamin D because it gets trapped in the fat tissue. I think that in the winter especially it is worth taking a supplement.
Re: What to do about insomnia?
21 Dec 2014, 10:51
rawkaren wrote: And most important - no electronic devices 3 hours before bed!

I have to admit that I am not good at this... But does this really make a difference when the problem is not falling asleep, but waking up too early?

I will try a few more things. If I don't see much improvement I might change to fasting for 24 hours and then a proper meal without calorie restrictions.
Re: What to do about insomnia?
28 Dec 2014, 07:40
Bad night again after a fastday... Woke up just before 3 am, immediately took some melatonin, but still stayed awake till after 5 am. I saved calories for a late night snack, I did take magnesium just before going to bed. Bummer... I don't want to give up fasting because of this...
Re: What to do about insomnia?
14 Dec 2016, 10:25
You should try lemongrass. It can be helpful for you. As many research, lemongrass can provide instant calming effects on muscles. Therefore, it may induce deep sleep naturally. Hence, people who are experiencing insomnia should consume drink lemongrass tea. The mixture of sedative and hypnotic qualities in lemongrass will improve sleep duration and quality. Hope it could be useful! :grin:
Re: What to do about insomnia?
14 Dec 2016, 12:01
I've bean taking a whole range of supplements for my ME/CFS. One particular tablet is Magnesium. I really think this helps me with sleep. I take two in the evening after food. I highly recommend them, I really do!

Bean :heart:
Re: What to do about insomnia?
14 Dec 2016, 12:04
I've just noticed this was posted 2 years ago! Did anything help you @Rasa?

Thanks for the lemongrass suggestion Patricia @Patricia11 - I might give that a try myself!!

Bean :heart:
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