What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. This kind of diet has a powerful effect on your body, and it can improve Sleep, Body Composition and Overall Health.
Intermittent Fasting and Evolution
Eating unconsciously correct is not easy in a globalised world, where all kinds of food are available all year around. Only 50 years ago humans were obliged to eat differently and probably healthier. Food availability was determined by the time of the year, and that’s what was on the table.
If you are overwhelmed or frustrated by the different diets, the variety of supplements and superfoods, think about your ancestors and how they were eating during the different seasons. There is an evolutionary memory in your genetic code stored in the cells. All individuals inherited this memory from countless generations, and it plays an essential role in your energy metabolism.
There are many ways to distance yourself from your genetic memory and eating a banana in Northern Europe during the winter is a good example. Exaggerated and unseasonal food intake is the number one cause of obesity and chronic disease. Imagine your genetic memory as the software of your body which generates the energy necessary for life.
This software was written by evolution over thousands of years. The artificial environment was created by humankind in less than a hundred years since the electrification of the world. You cannot overwrite this software within a couple of years. Your body will pay the price. Humans thrived all over the world because they could adapt and live with the light cycles of the different seasons: the food availability in abundance and periods of starvation made part of this cycle.
Your cellular memory overpowers the desires of your taste buds!
Intermittent fasting within a 10-12 hour feeding window has lots of benefits for the body and brain. If the timing of food intake is right and you keep a prolonged gap between two meals, you can increase energy efficiency on a cellular level. You will reboot your circadian rhythm and get better sleep, Enhanced Autophagy (detox of the damaged cells from your body) improved Leptin and Insulin sensitivity are positive side effects which can bring your health to the next level. In other words, intermittent fasting and meal timing are like pushing a reset button to bring our body back on track.
How Fasting Affect Sleep?
A time-restricted feeding window including a regular timed breakfast and an early dinner determines a clear feeding/fasting window which represents a time cue (biological clock) for the body. The sleep can be disturbed by overeating and eating at the wrong time. Late dinners affect our circadian clocks (circadian rhythms), and everything gets out of synchronisation, especially sleep and recovery. It is recommended to eat 3-4 hours before bed to maintain healthy sleep.
If you are consuming, small nutritious meals every 3 hours, you won’t burn any stored body fat for energy. On the long term, it will cause low energy level, lousy sleep, Insulin and Leptin resistance. Overweight people often suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia. It’s mostly related to the wrong timing of physiological processes.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
By restoring your bodies ability to burn your fat stores in the fasting window, you will not only improve energy levels and sleep, but enhance mental clarity and focus as well.
Don’t believe the hype of any diet dogma!
After a period of adaptation, you will upgrade your sleep, promote better digestion, lose weight naturally and boost your general health and functional longevity.
The regularly timed meals will reset your circadian rhythm and improve sleep onset latency and sleep quality. If you want to raise the game a bit further, expose yourself to natural light without sunglasses as much as possible during the day and avoid artificial light at night.
Intermittent Fasting Tips for Better Sleep
Implement these six strategies to get all the benefits of Intermittent Fasting:
1. Never skip breakfast. Eat a breakfast high in proteins, healthy fats and seasonal vegetables within 30 minutes of awakening. If you still have cravings throughout the day increase your breakfast portion.
2. Face bright light preferably sunlight in the morning and get out as much as you can during the day.
3. No snacks in between the meals -rather drink water.
4. Eat dinner within 4 hours before sleep. It should be rich in vegetables, proteins and healthy fats.
5. Don’t add any extra carbohydrates as you get enough from the vegetables.
6. Try to diminish all artificial light sources in the evening and opt for absolute darkness at night.
Take this as a general prescription but feel free to adjust since we are all living in different environments which can influence us profoundly. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and keep it simple. The environmental triggers are more important than any diet or macronutrients, and intermittent fasting gets easier by exposing yourself to natural light and darkness at night.