Effects of fasting on sleep

Effects of fasting on sleep

Fasting is not a new practice; it has been going on since time immemorial. While earlier it had a more cultural and religious background, today it is being used as a healthy practice. Fasting is a part of several weight loss and anti-aging regimens that people follow nowadays. Regardless of why it is done, fasting affects us both physically as well as mentally. In today’s post, we try to find out how fasting affects sleep. 

What is intermittent fasting 

Intermittent fasting is a fasting model that involves cycles of abstaining from food and eating. It is a popular trend which focuses not on what people eat, but instead on when they eat and when they fast. While some will fast for 8, 10, 12, or 16 hours, and leave the remaining hours for eating, others fast for 24 hours, two to three days a week. The popular fasting pattern is to restrict your calorie intake every three days and eat normally in between. There is another style of fasting that is known as 5:2 fasting, where five days you eat normally, and the other two days you restrict your diet in terms of calories.

Effects of fasting 

Research shows that intermittent fasting can benefit your health and protect you from diseases by enhancing your immune system. The immediate effects include weight loss, improvement insensitivity to insulin, and lower levels of unhealthy cholesterol. It also has been observed as a good practice to lower inflammation in the body. 

When you fast and how long you fast are two factors that play a huge role in determining the quality of your sleep. According to a few studies, short-term fasting is beneficial to sleep. It is said to reduce the occurrence of sleep interruptions and lowered leg movements that disrupt sleep. However, if the fasting is a long-term one, then it can negatively affect your REM sleep and cause a disturbed sleep pattern. Also, if you are extremely hungry, then falling asleep can be a struggle and is absolutely not recommended. 

When trying out intermittent fasting for better sleep, it is important to see how your body is responding to the new practice. Everyone’s level of tolerance is different, and listening closely to how your body is adjusting is a great way to understand if the new practice is for you or not. You do not want to inculcate a habit that causes sleep deprivation, because then, insufficient sleep will disrupt all your bodily functions making you fall sick in the end. 

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