Do you have a sweet tooth? An after-dinner dessert or late night snack may be tempting, but do you realise just how much of an impact all that added sugar can have on your body – and your sleep?
The more sugar you consume during the day, the more often you’re likely to wake up during the night. And even if you don’t fully wake up, the sugar in your system can prevent you from sleeping deeply, making you feel exhausted the next day.
As well as affecting your sleep routine, consuming too much sugar can play havoc on your energy levels at work.
Still not convinced of sugar’s impact on your body? Let’s get down to the facts…
Sugar reduces sleep quality
There is evidence that consuming more sugar is linked to restless, disrupted sleep. Some sugary treats even contain caffeine, which will undermine your sleep quality, especially if you consume it in the evenings.
Take chocolate as an example, the combination of sugar and caffeine can interfere with your rest, causing you to stir throughout the night.
Sugar stimulates appetite and cravings
Eating sugar activates the brain’s reward circuitry, making it release dopamine – a hormone that delivers powerful feelings of satisfaction.
The more sugar we eat the less sensitive our brains become to that rush. We need to produce more dopamine in order to experience the same feelings of pleasure and satisfaction – translating into a need to eat more sugar.
But you may be asking, what does all of this have to do with sleep?
Cravings, and an appetite distorted by over-consumption of sugar, can lead to late-night snacking which may turn into a regular sugar habit. This will set in motion a cycle of disrupted sleep and overstimulated appetite that is tough to break, and over time can lead to weight gain, as well as pre-diabetes and diabetes.
Sugar hurts a healthy gut
People who consume too many calories from sugary foods may be lacking in healthy nutrients, including fibre from whole, unprocessed, no-sugar-added food sources.
A low-sugar, high-fibre diet will help keep your gut healthy and also help you sleep better. A great night of restful sleep is another reward for saying “no thanks!” to most of the sugar temptations that come your way.
So to avoid those nap-inducing sugar crashes, you want to do everything that you can to keep your blood sugar level steady. Do that and you’ll keep your energy levels even throughout the day, helping you stick to a normal sleep schedule.