Ever tried fasting? That’s kind of a trick question, because we all have — you naturally fast each time you stop eating at night and go to sleep, up until you break your fast in the morning — we call it breakfast for exactly that reason.


Some people take this concept further and practice Intermittent Fasting, a popular eating pattern that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. People do it to lose weight, or to take advantage of possible health benefits like improved cardiovascular health, reduced cancer risk, gene repair, and increased longevity. But new research shows something new about intermittent fasting that makes it even more appealing—it could improve your sleep. And we could ALL use more (and better!) sleep.


A recent study suggests that intermittent fasting may help improve the quality of your sleep because it reinforces your circadian rhythms. Your circadian rhythms rely first on sunlight as a way to regulate, but its secondary time cue is food. Following set mealtimes, the way you do while intermittent fasting, helps reinforce natural circadian rhythms.


Practicing intermittent fasting increase your levels of human growth hormone, which is a hormone created during sleep that helps your body repair. When we’re in a fasted state, our bodies also create more orexin-A and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters involved with focus, attention, alertness, and memory. Because of this, people who practice intermittent fasting may feel more refreshed and alert when they wake up.


If you’re interested in giving intermittent fasting a try, make sure to talk to your doctor first.


If you’d like more ideas on how to improve your sleep, we’ve got you covered: