Narcolepsy Diet: Exploring the Power of a Low-Carb Lifestyle

Hey there, fellow sleep warrior!  Are you tired of feeling tired all the time? 

If you have narcolepsy, you know the struggle it is to try to live a fulfilled life while tackling excessive daytime sleepiness, unpredictable sleep attacks, and the constant struggle to stay awake and alert. 

But what if I told you there’s a potential game-changer in managing your symptoms? A low-carb lifestyle, particularly the ketogenic diet, could be that game-changer for you. 

In this post, we’ll dive into how a keto diet could be the key to reclaiming your energy and vitality, so you can fully enjoy life, even with Narcolepsy.

The Low-Carb Lifestyle: What is the Ketogenic Diet?

You may have heard of it before, but what exactly is a keto diet? In simple terms, the ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating plan designed to induce a state of ketosis in the body. 

Ketosis occurs when your body switches from burning glucose (sugar) for fuel to burning fat, producing ketones as a byproduct. These ketones serve as an alternative fuel source for your brain and body, offering a host of potential benefits beyond just weight loss.

In order to get into ketosis, you need to restrict your diet by avoiding carbohydrates (carbs). You find carbs in most foods, but here we only care about avoiding the high-carb ones:

  • Bread, pasta and pizza
  • Rice, potatoes and fries
  • Cake, candy, soda and cocktails
  • And anything with a lot of sugar

It’s all those sweet and tasty things. 

So what’s left to eat? 

There are plenty of delicious and nutritious whole foods to choose from.

Here is an overview of foods to enjoy as much as you want:

  • Meat, chicken, fish, eggs
  • Veggies like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, bellpepper, leafy greens and much more
  • Dairy products (some types of keto excludes this too)
  • Olive & avocado oil
  • Berries, Nuts & seeds

How Keto Could Help Manage Narcolepsy Symptoms

So, how does the keto diet help in narcolepsy? While more research is still needed, there’s growing evidence to suggest that a low-carb, high-fat diet like keto could really help Narcoleptics in multiple ways:

  • Minimise sleep attacks 
  • No more brain fog
  • Long term healing  
  • Improve sleep quality


Minimize sleep attacks
Avoiding carbs will keep your blood sugar in balance, thus your Orexin levels. Why?

Because Orexin levels go up when blood sugar goes down and vice versa. This might be a simplified explanation, but it always made sense to me and therefore helped me stay motivated to avoid carbs. My experience is that a keto diet makes the sleep attacks more rare, and less severe when they do come.

(Orexin is the thing we lack in type 1 Narcolepsy, and causes our sleep attacks during the day.)

Long term effects
Heal from the gut. By eliminating inflammatory foods like gluten, sugar, grains and ultra processed foods from your diet, the gut gets time to heal. 

Following the theory of Narcolepsy (type 1) being caused by autoimmunity, this makes total sense. If you want to understand this more, I will dive deeper into it in another post.

No more Brain fog
Ketones produced during ketosis are a more efficient source of energy for the brain than glucose, which could potentially improve cognitive function, meaning it removes brain fog and creates more alertness and mental clarity in individuals with narcolepsy. 

Improve sleep Quality
Some individuals report experiencing improvements in sleep quality and nighttime awakenings when following a ketogenic diet, which could contribute to overall well-being and symptom management.

Getting Started with Keto: Practical Tips and Advice

Ready to give keto a try? Here are some practical tips to help you get started on your low-carb journey:

  • Start simple 
  • Focus on whole, nutritious foods 
  • Plan ahead 
  • Communicate 
  • Mindset


Start simple
Make it easy to get your new way of eating into your new lifestyle and habit. Just replace the carbs with veggies, instead of complicating things with having to learn how to make new meals that require recipes. Recipes demand time, focus and effort to follow. It will just make things more challenging than necessary for you in this lifestyle change.

Focus on whole, nutritious foods cooked at home
By eating plenty of home cooked whole foods, you will get all the nutrition and energy you need. Fill your plate with high-quality fats, protein, and non-starchy vegetables to keep you feeling satisfied and nourished. Your sugar cravings will also pass faster this way.

Plan ahead
Plan your week and go grocery shopping so you have everything setup when it’s time to make your food. It’s also a great idea to meal prep, making big batches of food, e.g. on a sunday. That way you always have healthy and ready-to-eat meals in your freezer. It will make it as easy as it gets, not to cheat.

Consider letting other people around you know about this decision you’ve made and why. It will make it easier for you to follow through and not fall for group pressure to eat or drink what you weren’t planning to.

Your family might not want to join you on this journey, and that’s ok. Even if they do, make sure to let them know what your plan is and why you’re doing this. If they understand that, they are more likely to be supportive and let you do your thing (or even join you).

With keto being such a restrictive diet, it’s important to remember why we do it.
We are doing it out of self-love, not self-hate. Restricting yourself from tasty foods might seem harsh, but in our case, it’s really what our bodies need.

So, remind yourself of why you’re doing this, by journaling a little every day. Remind yourself that you are doing it from a place of self-love. You are doing it to give your body what it needs. With a positive mindset and skipping the sweets as an act of self-love will make the diet more sustainable and enjoyable long term.

While managing narcolepsy can be a lifelong journey filled with challenges, exploring alternative approaches like the ketogenic diet could offer new hope and possibilities for symptom management. 

By adopting a low-carb lifestyle and focusing on nourishing your body with whole, nutrient-dense foods, you can discover a newfound sense of energy, vitality, and well-being. 

Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and embracing the journey one step at a time. 

Want help to get started with a Low-carb Keto diet?

Book a Free consultation today, to discuss how I can help you.