I’m not talking about my fasting regimen a lot, because I don’t want to be tedious. But I’ve realized an unexpected benefit from it that I want to share—better sleep.
I am on a 16-hour/8-hour program four days a week, during which I eat only between 11 am and 7 pm. But one day a week, I fast completely, taking in no calories at all. So I’ll eat dinner, say, Wednesday night, and won’t eat again until Friday morning. Typically this works out to be a 36-hour fast.
Initially I worried that I’d have trouble falling asleep hungry. Funny thing, though—not only am I not hungry at bedtime on my fast day, I actually fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly.
(The Fitbit knows.)
In the following charts, the light blue lines indicate restless periods (basically moving around) and the pink lines indicate waking periods (getting up to pee). (I’ve removed the falling asleep and waking up periods at the beginning and end.)
Here is a typical chart from before I started any fasting:
Here is a typical chart for sleep the night of my all-day fast:
That’s a five-hour period of uninterrupted sleep. That is huge for me. And the charts on the nights that I haven’t fasted all day, but stopped eating at 7 pm, are improving, too.
I usually don’t call myself an insomniac because my deficit is typically small and manageable, but it has been over a decade since I slept reliably night after night. If that’s you too, you might look into fasting as part of your approach. It’s probably not as difficult as you think.
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