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New Zealand Student Asks What Your Low-Carb Experience Is With Sleep, Energy

Posted Sep 12 2008 8:57am

Joel Bell has a rather interesting question to ask low-carbers

After my recent encounter with a snobby high school science teacher wanting my help with a student project on low-carb last week, it was a refreshing change to receive a very pleasant e-mail from a college student from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand this week who is doing an e-mail research project on a specific area of low-carb dieting.

The student's name is Joel Bell and here's what he wants to know:

"Do people who go on low carbohydrate or reduced carbohydrate diets experience less need for sleep and also feel like their energy levels improve?"

It's an interesting question that is at the center of debate even among various people who have been on a low-carb diet. Joel would like to know what YOU think by sharing your answer to that question with him via e-mail. Send him your answer along with your name and where you live to jbe78@student.canterbury.ac.nz as soon as possible.

I will be sending Joel my own personal experience with this and he will compile all the responses to "formulate a conclusion on how people respond to low carbohydrate diets." This is only a student-led research project, but it will be interesting to see what realization he comes to based on the anecdotal evidence he receives.

As most of us low-carbers will attest, livin' la vida low-carb is a real bear early on as your body adjusts to the carb withdrawals. But once you get past that initial lack of energy, there's a sudden BURST of energy that comes shining through and propels you to feel better than you ever have before. I STILL feel this way!

Joel explained to me why he is interested in this subject matter.

"I became intrigued by the idea that diets can effect need for sleep and energy levels after reading certain testimonials saying that they slept less after following certain diets (particularly raw fruit and vegetable diets as well as reduced carb diets). However the result doesn't seem to be widely talked about."

That's true, so it's nice to see a student take this on. He cited several examples of people who have proven this theory in their own life, including:

- Dean Karnazes (the ultra marathon man) who now sleeps 4 hours a night and has improved energy levels from removing sugar and processed carbohydrate from his diet.

- Stu Mittleman (another runner and author of Slow Burn ) who writes about a client who is living on simple carbohydrates who now sleeps 6 hours a night (compared to 8) while having more energy.

- Dr. Barry Sears ( The Zone Diet ) writes about a sleep paradox that occurs when you reduce carbohydrates because the insulin released reduces growth hormones needed to help repair the body.

Joel also cites a passage from The Warrior Diet where the author recommends eating MORE carbohydrate to help you fall asleep. The more carbs you eat, the more sleep you need. Ergo, the less carbs you eat, the less sleep you need.

As a personal trainer prior to his educational experience at the University of Canterbury, Joel had read up on this subject about how carbohydrates release another hormone that leads to sleepiness while protein releases a hormone that stimulates brain and body activity.

It sounds like he may be on to something that would make for an excellent thesis and/or future book for Joel Bell! Let's help him out by sharing our personal experiences with sleep and energy while livin' la vida low-carb by e-mailing him at jbe78@student.canterbury.ac.nz. THANKS!

7-12-07 UPDATE: Joel e-mailed me today to let me know his local newspaper down in New Zealand picked up the story about his school project after reading this blog entry about it. COOL!

Here's what he wrote:

Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for all your help. I ended up in my city's newspaper the other day because of this study. The journalist saw your post on the common voice site and thought it would make a good story. Here is the link!

Have a great day,

Joel Bell

Labels: carbs, diet, energy, low-carb, New Zealand, sleep, student, University of Canterbury

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