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  #1  
Unread 09-02-2016, 06:22 AM
DetachedLad DetachedLad is offline
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Default Insomnia while cutting

Hello,

I'm doing a targeted carb diet. On rest days I keep carbs at around 50 grams, and on training days I have two meals with carbs, one pre-workout, with a modest amount of fruits (anywhere between 10-30 grams of carbs), and one post-workout, with 100 grams. This puts me on workout days at around 150 grams of carbs.

My caloric budget is quite severe. Some days, maybe once or at most twice per week, I go as low as 1k kcal. Most of the time is between 1.2k and 1.5k. Without going into too much details, I should mention that my maintenance is very low, at around 1.9k kcal I'd say, despite being a very active person.

Protein fluctuates between 110 - 130 (I'm 61kg), but I plan to increase it and keep it at least 140+ grams per day. Fat takes up whatever is left of my caloric budget.

My problem is with insomnia, it happened three times so far. The first two times I also felt very hungry, so I just did a night-binge and was able to fall asleep. On both of these occasions, I had quite a drastic caloric deficit (it was a 1k day).

Yesterday, however, on the third insomnia occurrence, hunger was not so much as a problem: it was a workout day, and I had around 1.6k kcals. Beside hunger, which was absent, this time was no different than previous two times: felt very tired, my mind was racing, thinking about many things incessantly, burning sensations in muscles and soreness, restlessness, and mildly irregular breathing. I didn't binge yesterday night, however, since hunger was not intense. I took an aspirin and eventually, after tossing and turning on every side for 2 hours, I got some sleep.

Anyone seen anything like this happen? Any idea what might cause it?

I read that insomnia often happens for people on RFL, but it only when carbs are very low. This wasn't the case for me yesterday, however. Should I get L-tryptophan?

Thank you!
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  #2  
Unread 09-02-2016, 07:50 AM
PhysiologyIsPhun PhysiologyIsPhun is offline
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Usually, low carb diets can cause this response because of lowered serotonin levels. Even on days with 150 carbs, you may not be eating enough to bring your serotonin back to normal.

Couple supplements that might help with this:
100-300mg 5-HTP near bedtime (this helps raise serotonin)
500mg Magnesium 30 minutes or so before bed (not sure the mechanism behind this)
5mg melatonin in 1-2 hours before bed (melatonin is the hor mine that makes you feel sleepy when it gets dark, naturally released by the body)

I've had some horrible problems with insomnia while cutting in the past, and these are what have worked for me. I'd say the 5-HTP wouldn't really be necessary if you were looking at the biggest bang for your buck. You can get melatonin and magnesium dirt cheap at most shopping centers (Meijer/Walmart).

Hopefully that helps!
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  #3  
Unread 09-02-2016, 07:54 AM
PhysiologyIsPhun PhysiologyIsPhun is offline
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Also, make sure you are getting enough electrolytes when doing very restrictive diets like this. Lyle recommends 5g Sodium, 1g Potassium, and 500mg Magnesium. Not sure if this will help wit insomnia, but anecdotally, I've had some wild energy fluctuations when I forget to supplement my electrolytes.
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  #4  
Unread 09-02-2016, 12:43 PM
bodysolid bodysolid is offline
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Eating all of your daily allotment of carbs before bed can help too. Boiled potatoes before bed for me. If you eat them cold they have more resistant starch that is suppose to help with sleep as well.
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  #5  
Unread 09-02-2016, 01:47 PM
DetachedLad DetachedLad is offline
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I'm currently taking 300g magnesium, spread over two effervescent supplement capsules (which have plenty of other goodies, both minerals and vitamins). The first after lunch and second after dinner. One would think that the daily recommended dose (300mg) would've been enough, on top of what I get from food. I guess I'll take another supplement, a dedicated dose of magnesium pre-bedtime.

Also, the hint with pre-bedtime carbs could work, since I'm working out in evenings. Thanks for the insight!
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  #6  
Unread 09-06-2016, 12:30 PM
nfriedman35 nfriedman35 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysiologyIsPhun View Post
Usually, low carb diets can cause this response because of lowered serotonin levels. Even on days with 150 carbs, you may not be eating enough to bring your serotonin back to normal.

Couple supplements that might help with this:
100-300mg 5-HTP near bedtime (this helps raise serotonin)
500mg Magnesium 30 minutes or so before bed (not sure the mechanism behind this)
5mg melatonin in 1-2 hours before bed (melatonin is the hor mine that makes you feel sleepy when it gets dark, naturally released by the body)

I've had some horrible problems with insomnia while cutting in the past, and these are what have worked for me. I'd say the 5-HTP wouldn't really be necessary if you were looking at the biggest bang for your buck. You can get melatonin and magnesium dirt cheap at most shopping centers (Meijer/Walmart).

Hopefully that helps!
my issue isn't insomnia as much as its waking up 2-3hrs after falling asleep massively hungry and wide awake. will boosting serotonin aid in this respect?
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  #7  
Unread 09-08-2016, 03:43 AM
DetachedLad DetachedLad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nfriedman35 View Post
my issue isn't insomnia as much as its waking up 2-3hrs after falling asleep massively hungry and wide awake. will boosting serotonin aid in this respect?
Indeed, I experienced this repeatedly as well!
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  #8  
Unread 09-08-2016, 05:16 AM
PhysiologyIsPhun PhysiologyIsPhun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nfriedman35 View Post
my issue isn't insomnia as much as its waking up 2-3hrs after falling asleep massively hungry and wide awake. will boosting serotonin aid in this respect?
Scientifically speaking 5-HTP won't help with this because the half life is only 90 minutes, so it's best for helping you get to sleep in the first place. From my personal experience, I've found I sleep long and well when I take it, but that could be a placebo effect. An effective range for dosing is between 50-300mg, so if you were to take 300mg before bed, you would still have an effective dose of it in your bloodstream (75mg) 3 hours later, which may help you get past this 2 to 3 hour mark. It can't hurt to try, and it's really not that expensive. Good luck!
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  #9  
Unread 09-21-2016, 09:11 AM
Totentanz Totentanz is offline
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If you decide to go the melatonin route, I would suggest taking 5 mg of "regular" melatonin around bedtime along with another 5 mg extended release. That seems to help eliminate waking up later on.
I wouldn't expect a miraculous cure though.
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  #10  
Unread 09-21-2016, 12:28 PM
lylemcdonald lylemcdonald is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totentanz View Post
If you decide to go the melatonin route, I would suggest taking 5 mg of "regular" melatonin around bedtime along with another 5 mg extended release. That seems to help eliminate waking up later on.
I wouldn't expect a miraculous cure though.
That is an absolutely absurd dose.
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