Sugar Makes Me Sleepy and Here’s Why!

This article will help you better understand how sugar works and why it influences our mood, sleep, and ability to work.
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Last updatedLast updated: August 29, 2021
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Today, virtually everything you eat contains sugar. They range from all the chocolates and sweets to packaged and processed foods, soda, candy, cakes, fruit drinks, and lots more. Everything contains varying levels of sugar, which are not without their detriments to human health.

Nonetheless, many people still consume more sugar, especially when they are feeling tired. Indeed, sugar will give you a boost in energy, but such an energy rise is transient. In a very short while, you will get tired and feel sleepy.

At some point, we’ve all experienced this — a few more slices of cakes or a handful of chocolate, and you feel like laying on your bed. Interestingly, some people write this off as just regular exhaustion. But the truth is, there is more to this phenomenon commonly called “Sugar Crash.” So, if you’ve been wondering,” instead of giving me energy, why does sugar make me feel sleepy?” Or “Why do I get fatigued after consuming sugar?” Look no further. In this article, we will provide answers to all your sugar crash questions and how to take perfect control of your sugar consumption.

What Is a Sugar Crash?

Sugar Makes Me Sleepy and Here's Why!

Sugar Crash Trusted Source Sugar crash effects and how to fix them - Sanford Health News A sugar crash can negatively affect your day by disrupting energy levels. Senior dietician Kelsey Herrick shares her knowledge on how to avoid them. news.sanfordhealth.org describes a rapid drop in blood sugar level after consuming a large amount of sugar. This can happen after consuming pasta and pizza, and any other food that contains a large amount of sugar. Let’s look at how it occurs. Usually, when you consume foods that contain a high sugar content, those sugars get absorbed into the bloodstream, producing a surge in your blood sugar level. This surge in your blood glucose level boosts your energy level, and you feel more energetic. However, the boost is transient.

To keep you healthy, your body regulates every metabolic process, including blood glucose levels.

Hence, the body evens out the surge in the blood glucose level by increasing insulin production. The spike in insulin production brings back the blood glucose level to normal. That process occurs very rapidly. The fast plunge in blood sugar is also known as a sugar crash. Sometimes, the body overcompensates for this spike in blood sugar levels, thereby leading to sugar levels dropping below normal. When this happens, the body sends a signal to the brain, and then the brain responds by increasing cravings. A sugar crash often causes undesired symptoms that can disrupt productivity and energy levels throughout the day.

How Does Sugar Affects Sleep?

Sugar impacts sleep by affecting the hormone responsible for maintaining wakefulness. One of the hormones responsible for keeping you awake is Orexin. When the levels are low, you feel tired and sleepy. And when the levels increase, you become more active.

High consumption of sugar impacts sleeps by inhibiting the production of this hormone. Of course, that’s after you briefly feel energetic and alert. Hence, the more sugar you eat, the more you feel sleepy.

Orexin does control not only sleep but also controls hunger and some other metabolic processes in the blood. And that explains why people with chronically low levels of Orexin often suffer from narcolepsy or obesity. Apparently, what you consider as an energy boost actually lowers your orexin levels, which can be detrimental to your overall wellbeing. Interestingly, eating a large amount of sugar before bed can ruin your sleep, sometimes affecting how long it takes to fall asleep. Well, if you have a hard time falling asleep, there are white-noise machines that can make you sleep very quickly.

Sugar Makes Me Sleepy and Here's Why!

Also, consuming sugary food can make you sleepless and restless, and it can give you a dry mouth at night. It pulls you out of REM sleep and makes you feel tired in the morning. Apart from sugar crashes making you feel sleepy, other symptoms come with it. The symptoms include weakness, fatigue, shakiness, nausea, irritability, or headaches. Sometimes, you get hungry and start craving foods that will shoot up your glucose level. And then, the whole process begins again. Some call the process Blood Sugar Roller Coaster. Quite an interesting phenomenon, you’d agree.

How To Regulate Blood Sugar Level With Food?

Before we talk about food that can help regulate your blood sugar level, let’s look at some foods that can spike your blood sugar level. Added sugars are generally red flags Trusted Source The alarming truth about how sugar ruins your sleep | Sleep | The Guardian A 2016 study found that people who have diets high in sugar tend to sleep less deeply and display greater restlessness at night. According to Dr Michael Breus – AKA “the sleep doctor” – a US clinical psychologist who specialises in sleep disorders, too much sugar leads to a tendency to eat later in the day because blood sugar levels are zigzagging out of control. That adversely affects sleep, and your disrupted sleep will, in turn, produce an even greater craving for sugar the next day. The vicious circle is complete. www.theguardian.com . In fact, both refined sugar sources (such as corn syrup, corn sugar) and natural sources (like honey and maple syrup found in foods like cookies, soda, and candy) can increase your blood glucose level rapidly.

Similarly, some conventionally healthy food may also contain a large sugar content. Foods such as instant oatmeal, cereals, amongst many others, should be consumed moderately. Refined carbohydrates are a good source of sugar. Hence, food made with white, refined flour (white bread, packaged snacks, and crackers) is a red flag.

Fortunately, there are healthy and smart ways to eat without causing a surge in your blood sugar levels and the succeeding plunge. Foods rich in proteins, fat, and fibers will keep your blood glucose level safe to maintain its balance.

Whole foods regulate your blood sugar level such that it doesn’t shoot up or plunge rapidly. Instead of cereal and banana, go for scrambled eggs with avocado. Also, swapping chips or crackers nuts, such as the Midnight Double Feature, are ways to be healthy. Flavored yogurts will spike your sugar level. Full-fats yogurt with blueberries and nuts are perfect substitutes.

Final Thoughts

Conclusively, sugars offer no exceptional nutritional value to your overall wellbeing except for the brief energy boost, which, of course, is followed by many not-so-good effects Trusted Source The Connection Between Sugar and Your Sleep | Psychology Today The volunteers who consumed diets with more sugar spent less time in deep, slow-wave sleep. This sleep stage is essential for the body’s physical restoration and healing, as well as for maintaining a healthy metabolism and immune function. The volunteers who ate more sugar also took longer to fall asleep. And they experienced more restless sleep, with more frequent awakenings throughout the night. www.psychologytoday.com . Now, you know why sugar makes you feel sleepy. Hence, when you feel drained at your workplace in the afternoon, you know the type of food you should eat to stay active. More so, instead of consuming sugars that will mess up your sleep, there are herbal teas, like the Sleepytime Vanilla, that will ensure you sleep soundly and wake active and alert. Fortunately, even after drinking coffee, you can still sleep very soundly.

References

1.
Sugar crash effects and how to fix them - Sanford Health News
A sugar crash can negatively affect your day by disrupting energy levels. Senior dietician Kelsey Herrick shares her knowledge on how to avoid them.
2.
The alarming truth about how sugar ruins your sleep | Sleep | The Guardian
A 2016 study found that people who have diets high in sugar tend to sleep less deeply and display greater restlessness at night. According to Dr Michael Breus – AKA “the sleep doctor” – a US clinical psychologist who specialises in sleep disorders, too much sugar leads to a tendency to eat later in the day because blood sugar levels are zigzagging out of control. That adversely affects sleep, and your disrupted sleep will, in turn, produce an even greater craving for sugar the next day. The vicious circle is complete.
3.
The Connection Between Sugar and Your Sleep | Psychology Today
The volunteers who consumed diets with more sugar spent less time in deep, slow-wave sleep. This sleep stage is essential for the body’s physical restoration and healing, as well as for maintaining a healthy metabolism and immune function. The volunteers who ate more sugar also took longer to fall asleep. And they experienced more restless sleep, with more frequent awakenings throughout the night.
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