Sleep Disturbances When Starting Paleo

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Had a client who has been struggling to fall asleep at night time while starting paleo and also experiencing inconsistant mood swings. Ifelt this information was important and should be shared with everyone. A couple of things can be going on here.

First, tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin of course is responsible for making us feel good. Other amino acids will compete for receptors with tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier. When insulin is properly doing its job it will actually remove these other amino acids from the blood. In the case of someone with insulin resistance, the insulin is not as successful at doing its job, and these other amino acids remain in the blood. This limits tryptophan uptake to the brain and decreases our amount of serotonin. This can make us a little grumpy.

Undereating can be a cause of not being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. When blood sugar levels drop too low our body releases cortisol. Cortisol releases sugar into our bloodstream. Cortisol is also the hormone that is responsible for allowing us to wake and start our day and should be converted to melotonin to allow us to fall asleep. To avoid cortisol at time make sure our stress levels are managed, our rooms are dark, and also that we have eaten enough to sustain us overnight. This number varies from individual to individual, but adding in sweet potatoes or yams may help improve sleep at night if you are experienceing this.


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