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Sleep Deprivation While Fasting

No sleep

Many 5:2 fasters have reported having trouble falling asleep on their fasting days.  Some may have too much energy while others feel too hungry by bed time. This is completely normal since fasting increases your wakefulness. Horace Fletcher, an American health food enthusiast of the Victorian era, often pointed out that when he ate less food, he required less sleep.

Contrary to what we have been taught about eating a big breakfast, we now know that if we are to be mentally alert, we must eat lighter or not at all.

Surprisingly the human brain requires 22% of body energy expenditure at rest, so our brains need a lot of calories to keep functioning.  Nothing to worry about though, human brains do not require the ingestion of glucose to function. During fasting, less than half the energy used by the brain comes from metabolized glucose, giving place to better brain function and clarity.

Dr. Michael Mosley states in his Fast Diet Book regarding his 5-2 Intermittent Fasting method, “You should not only lose weight but also enjoy a wide range of health benefits”, it may reduce risk of Alzheimer and dementia senile.  On another note, researchers at the National Institute of Aging in Baltimore have performed studies showing the positive effects of fasting on overall brain health. Professor Mark Mattson Ph.D., Senior Investigator Chief, Cellular and Molecular Neurosciences Section and Chief, Laboratory of Neurosciences, made it clear that these benefits were not just related to calorie restriction but instead to intentional periods of intermittent fasting

Rabbi Gabriel Cousens M.D., M.D.(H.), N.D.(h.c.), D.D., Diplomate American Board of Holistic Medicine is a renowned spiritual teacher, Holistic physician and the world expert in live-nutrition. – affirms “I often observe in fasting participants that concentration seems to improve, creative thinking expands, depression lifts, insomnia stops, anxieties fade, the mind becomes more tranquil, and a natural joy begins to appear. It is my hypothesis that when the physical toxins are cleared from the brain cells, mind-brain functions automatically and significantly improves, and spiritual capacities expand.”



Fasting has been an ancestral practice – “I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency.” – Plato (428-348 B.C.)

Certainly fasting in religious quests is an integral part of the human spiritual history. All major religions to the current days retain fasting as much more than merely a conventional ceremonial act. It remains an elementary part of certain religions to achieve enlightenment, as with the Muslim fast of Ramadan and the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur. Yogis fast during their vision quests. The Catholic Church historically observes the discipline of fasting or abstinence at various times each year.

“Fasting is the master key to mental and spiritual unfolding and evolution.” – Dr. Arnold Ehret (1866-1922; German Father of Naturopathy, a.k.a. Naturopathic Medicine).

Ramadan praying

You should now have a better understanding of how our brain responds to intermittent fasting and how it acquires a state of wakefulness. If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, don’t worry as many report that it goes away after few weeks.  In the meantime try these recommendations by The National Sleep Foundation: Try a relaxing bed time ritual, as listening to calming music, stretching, doing relaxation exercises.  Avoid naps, optimize your room for a good sleeping environment away from noise and light from the outside, having a comfortable mattress, pillow and an adequate room temperature are key.  One hour before bed time try to stay calm, keep yourself away from TV, computer, cell phone, tablets and bright light. Try going to another room to read a book or do something relaxing until you feel tired.  Remember that alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes and heavy meals may thwart your sleep efforts.


Sources For This Article Include:

Horace Fletcher https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Fletcher

National Institute of Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov

Dr. Cousens’ Tree of Life  http://treeoflifecenterus.com/#sthash.EfpjNHKV.dpuf

National Sleep Foundation http://sleepfoundation.org


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