Have you ever gone for hours without eating? I'm sure most of us have tried intermittent fasting, knowingly or unknowingly, at some point in our lives. For instance, when you get a good eight-hour sleep and go on a little longer without food after waking up, you actually end up doing intermittent fasting.
So What Exactly is Intermittent Fasting?
[Intermittent fasting](https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work#:~:text=Intermittent fasting is an eating,reverse — some forms of disease.) is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of eating and fasting. Unlike other diet plans that focus on restricting your calorie intake or suggest you eat only specific kinds of foods, intermittent fasting focuses on when to eat and how long to fast. During your fast, you're allowed to drink water, coffee or other non-calorie-containing drinks but refrain from consuming anything that has more than five calories in them.
In this write-up, we will discuss about intermittent fasting and how it can affect your sleep
The Various Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are various methods of intermittent fasting. Some of the most popular ones are:
- The 16/8 Method: This is by far the most popular way of intermittent fasting. You fast for 16 hours with a window of 8 hours for your meals. This method feels comparatively more effortless than the others as most people fast while sleeping. You can have an early dinner at 7 pm and have lunch at around 12 pm by skipping breakfast the next day. You may also start with the 14/10 Method, wherein you can fast for 14 hours and have a 10-hour window for eating. If you're just a beginner, you can start by fasting for 12 hours a day.
- Eat-Stop-Eat Method: This method is also known as the 24-hour fast. Herein you fast for a full 24 hours window. It's usually done once or twice a week.
- Twice-a-week Method/ 5:2 Diet: In this approach, you fast for two days a week in a way that your calorie intake is just 500 KCal per day. You can select these days as per your comfort and convenience and make sure that they are not consecutive.
- Alternate day fasting: As the name suggests, you fast every alternate day. You can either keep your calorie intake 500 or 0 on your fasting days, depending upon your comfort and choice. Alternate day fasting helps in weight loss as well as in maintaining heart health.
How to Start Your Journey Toward Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an excellent way to curb midnight cravings and get in shape. It also has several cardiometabolic benefits that can be beneficial in the long run. As such, there are no specific risks of intermittent fasting, but it should be avoided if you're pregnant, nursing a baby, or are at risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) since it might cause some adverse effects.
If you're new to intermittent fasting, you can start your journey by taking baby steps. The best way to do intermittent fasting is to incorporate your sleep hours into the fasting period.
- You can start eating your dinner at 7 pm and have your breakfast at 7 am.
- Out of these 12 hours, you'll only have to be hungry for 4 hours if you're getting an 8-hour sleep, which seems pretty doable.
- Try to have protein and fiber-rich food before fasting so that it keeps you full for longer.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- After getting used to fasting for 12 hours, you can start increasing your fasting window by 30 minutes or an hour each day and reach the 14/10 or 16/8 method.
Some Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting