Use MCT Oil to Improve Your Sleep

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Recently, I began taking MCT oil before bed, wondering whether there would be any benefit of MCT oil for sleep. And guess what? After just about a week, I noticed that my sleep had improved greatly!

In this article, we will explore why MCT oil may help support better sleep and why you might want to give it a try yourself.

I will cover:

Let’s start by clarifying what the word MCT even means and what MCT oil is.

MCT oil supplement, MCT oil in glass bowl with wooden spoon, bottle in background on rustic cloth.


What is MCT oil?

MCT refers to medium chain triglycerides. These are a particular type of fat that has unique effects in the body. MCTs turn into ketones very quickly in the body, and they don’t have to be digested by the gallbladder like other fats do. To learn more about ketones and this alternative source of fuel, go here.

MCT oil can be extracted from foods like coconut oil or palm oil and then used as a supplement that you can add to your daily routine. Learn about the different types of MCTs here.

Because MCTs provide the body with ketones and a preferred source of fuel, MCT oil has a range of potential benefits. Normally, people take MCT oil in the morning or before working out to provide them with stable, quality energy.

But I recently had the idea of taking MCT oil before bed to help me sleep. And it worked!

Let’s consider why this might work and explore the potential links between MCT oil and sleep.

Dog sleeping on a pillow with eye mask that says “Shhh” and blue alarm clock under paw.


Why try MCT oil for sleep?

One of the better-known benefits of MCT oil is providing physical and mental energy to help us perform better. But MCT oil helps support optimal body functioning on many different levels, and it may actually help us to get restful, calm, rejuvenating sleep as well.

Here are two of the possible reasons for the link between MCT oil and sleep:

1. Increase oxygen levels

One possible reason MCT oil benefits sleep is that it increases oxygen levels in your body.

We already know that we don’t sleep well when we don’t have enough oxygen. Consider sleep apnea, a condition where you have a lack of oxygen when you are sleeping. This low oxygen interferes with your ability to sleep well and get the rest and rejuvenation you really need.

There is a huge connection between oxygen and the quality of your sleep.

One of the great benefits of MCT oil is that it feeds your body ketones, and ketones give you oxygen. Ketones provide much more oxygen than glucose does. Additionally, you end up with lower CO2 levels when using ketones.

Getting more oxygen into your body via MCT oil and elevated ketone levels may help to support better sleep, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep so you can wake rested.

2. Get ketones to your brain

Cartoon illustration of pineal gland and brain structures involved in melatonin and sleep regulation.

Contrary to popular belief, your brain does not need glucose for fuel. Your brain can actually run on ketones, and it thrives when it uses ketones as fuel.

There are certain parts of the brain that love ketones AND that are involved in sleep. Here are two examples of parts of the brain that run on ketones:

  • Pineal gland. The pineal gland is a gland in your brain that produces the hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle, and you need it to fall and stay asleep. The pineal gland works very well when run by ketones, which may be one possible reason why MCT oil before bed might be a good idea.
  • Hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is another brain structure that loves ketones. In the hypothalamus, there are tiny nuclei, which are little regulatory cells linking the autonomic nervous system to the endocrine system. One of them is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and it is involved in sleep and circadian rhythm (your 24-hour biological clock). Supporting the hypothalamus with the right fuel – ketones – may potentially enhance your sleep. Again, another reason to try MCT oil for sleep.

When just starting out with keto and intermittent fasting, your brain might not yet be getting ketones. Your brain does prefer to run on ketones for fuel, but it will only do this if there are already enough ketones in your blood.

In the beginning when you are new to keto, you won’t yet be in 100% ketosis. And there might not be enough ketones to spare for your brain. By providing your body with ketones from MCT oil, you can spike ketone levels in your brain to support better brain function and possibly enhance your sleep quality.

Ketones text on sticky note with office supplies and marker nearby. Keto diet, ketone fuel.


Other health benefits of MCT oil

Improving sleep may be one of the potential benefits of taking MCT oil.

And this is just one of many different beneficial effects of this unique type of fat. Here are some other MCT benefits to be aware of:

  1. Boosted brain function.
  2. Reduced hunger.
  3. More energy.
  4. Improved blood sugars and lipid profile.
  5. Better heart function.
  6. Elevated mood.
  7. Antimicrobial effects.
  8. Increased absorption of vitamins.

I personally recommend MCT oil when you are new to keto and intermittent fasting. One of the greatest benefits of MCTs is that they can help ease you into full ketosis and support you during keto adaptation. It can also help you go longer between meals without eating when you are doing intermittent fasting.

Learn more about the top benefits of MCT oil here.


Taking MCT oil

MCT oil before bed may be worth your while if you’d like to boost your sleep quality and get better rest. Especially if you are new to keto and intermittent fasting, it can help to get ketones to your brain where they can go to use supporting healthy sleep regulation.

If you want to give it a try, start out slow with small amounts. Start with about ½ teaspoon MCT oil before bed. If you start with too much, you may get digestive discomfort. Starting slowly gives your body time to adapt to the new supplement so that you don’t get any side effects.

Try taking MCT oil before bed for a week and see how you feel. Like me, you may just notice that you are sleeping better than ever before!

Along with MCT oil for sleep, you may also want to try other strategies to support better rest. Find out more in these videos:

Young woman smiling with sleeping eye mask on forehead, good night’s sleep, well rested.


The bottom line

MCT oil just may be the sleep hack you are looking for. While there is still much to learn about the links between MCT oil and sleep, there are many possible mechanisms that could explain the great results myself and others have noticed.

I recommend starting with a small amount, about ½ teaspoon MCT before bed.

After just about a week of MCT before bed, I noticed a big improvement in how well I slept. Give it a try yourself and then leave me a comment below letting me know how it worked for you.

Have you tried MCT oil for insomnia? Did you notice a difference? Share your thoughts and questions with me down below.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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