The effects of ketogenic dietary therapies on sleep: A scoping review

J Sleep Res. 2023 Nov 6:e14073. doi: 10.1111/jsr.14073. Online ahead of print.


Sleep problems are common in neurological conditions for which ketogenic dietary therapies (KDTs) are recognised as an effective intervention (drug-resistant epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, and migraine). Given the composite framework of action of ketogenic dietary therapies, the prevalence of sleep disturbance, and the importance of sleep regulation, the present scoping review aimed at identifying and mapping available evidence of the effects of ketogenic dietary therapies on sleep. A comprehensive web-based literature search was performed retrieving publications published to June 2023 using PubMed and Scopus, yielding to 277 records. Twenty papers were finally selected and included in the review. Data were abstracted by independent coders. High variability was identified in study design and sleep outcome evaluation among the selected studies. Several changes in sleep quality and sleep structure under ketogenic dietary therapies were found, namely an improvement of overall sleep quality, improvement in the difficulty falling asleep and nighttime awakenings, improvement in daytime sleepiness and an increase of REM sleep. The relevance and possible physiological explanations of these changes, clinical recommendations, and future directions in the field are discussed.

Keywords: autism; epilepsy; ketogenic diet; ketogenic diet efficacy; migraine; sleep disorders; sleep quality.

Publication types

  • Review