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Three Ways That Sugar Sabotages Sleep

Many of us enjoy having something sweet from time to time, and some of us indulge more often than others. Unfortunately, consuming sugar can have some negative side effects, such as weight gain and acne. Chances are, you know about many of these. But did you know that sugar consumption can cause sleep issues? If you are struggling with sleep wellness, it may be time to shift your eating habits.

Where’s the Proof? Evidence That Sugar Affects Sleep

In 2016, researchers studied the impacts of sugar on sleep. They divided study participants into two groups. The first ate a low sugar, high fiber diet. The second was allowed to eat what they wanted, which was a diet much higher in both sugar and fat. Their research found that the individuals in the second group struggled with disrupted sleep patterns and restlessness.

So what’s going on? Why does sugar have such a noticeable impact on your sleep?

1. Sugar Consumption Can Lead to Inflammation

It has been shown that consuming sugar can cause chronic inflammation. That leads to sleep issues. The same cells in your body that promote inflammation also produce cytokines. When the level of cytokines in your body is high, you are more likely to struggle with insomnia and other sleep issues. 

That’s just one problem. The other is that inflammation is a key cause of body aches and stiffness. This can make it difficult for anyone to sleep properly. That lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, causing your body to produce cortisol. By the way, cortisol is also a byproduct of sugar-induced inflammation.

2. Sugar Consumption Increases Cortisol

Why are we talking about cortisol again? Well, it’s a huge deal. It plays a role in inflammation, but that’s something that occurs over time. In addition to that, cortisol is part of sugar’s more immediate impact on your sleep health.

 Sugar can give you an instant rush of energy. Some people even feel a bit euphoric. Then, there’s the inevitable crash. When that happens, your body produces cortisol in an attempt to bring things back into balance. If that crash happens while you are trying to sleep, you’re stuck with stress hormones making things difficult for you.

3. Eating Sugar Leads to Nighttime Cravings

That pleasurable feeling you get from eating sugar is thanks to dopamine, the feel-good hormone. If you consume sugar all the time, you become desensitized to it. At the same time, that pleasurable feeling is addictive. As a result, you crave even more sugar. These cravings often come late at night, when you have time to indulge them. When you give in and eat sugary foods before bed, that can lead to restless and disrupted sleep.

The Sugar Free Sleep Wellness Solution

If you’re not happy with your sleep habits, it is time to make a change. You don’t have to eliminate sugar entirely, but you should definitely consider its role in your diet. After all, you already know the other negative impacts of sugar. Consider making sweets a rare treat. Also, be wary of the amount of sugar in your drinks. Even coffee cream can be excessive.