Halloween is upon us and so is the inevitable sugar rush that hits right around 9PM when the last little goblin leaves you with half a bag of Snickers on your hands.
If you eat them all tonight you can start your post-Halloween pre-Thanksgiving diet tomorrow, right? Unless, of course, you can’t quite get to sleep tonight, and then you’re late in the morning, and rushing to work so there’s no time for breakfast but will one donut really make that big of a difference, in the long run? It might.
Here’s 4 reasons to put the sugar down.
1. Sugar is proven to interrupt your sleep In a Columbia University study, participants that consumed more sugar and refined carbs before bed showed an increase is interruptions to their sleep. Not quite a full wake up call, these interruptions are called sleep arousals—they don’t completely take you out of sleep, but they do put you into a lighter, less restorative part of your sleep cycle, which can heavily impact the following day. Your body’s response to melatonin, the sleep hormone, becomes less and less efficient the more sugar you eat throughout the day.
2. It saps your energy during the day, too Sugar can give you a quick burst of energy, but the high is followed quickly by the dreaded crash, making you feel more tired throughout the day. This can lead you to reaching for more caffeine or energy-boosting products to compensate, which in turn makes it harder to get good sleep that night, starting the vicious cycle all over again. Maintaining a consistent energy level throughout the day can help you have more restorative sleep at night.
3. You’re fueling with the wrong stuff When we go to sleep at night, our bodies metabolize what we eat during the day to make sure we’re performing as we’re designed. You should be burning fat overnight, a long-burning fuel that helps the body stay asleep, but if you’re loading up on carbs and sugar, your body naturally wants to burn that off first. Researchers have found a correlation between those who aren’t getting as much sleep at night as they need and those with higher than average blood sugar, the problem could be cyclical and lead to missed sleep for long periods of time.
4. Your blood sugar levels actually impact your sleep. Like a lot. A study at the Boston University School of Medicine found that people who consistently sleep less than six hours also had higher blood sugar levels. Restricting diabetics to four hours of sleep showed a reduction in insulin sensitivity by almost 20% which can lead to more complications during the day. Getting more sleep helps manage and maintain blood sugar levels, which in turn prevents interruptions at night, creating a healthy and balanced sleep-wake cycle.
So what should you do if you’re craving something sweet in the evening? Here are a few things to help shake a sweet tooth.
- Take a short, brisk walk
- Make sure you’re getting enough protein at dinner
- Drink a cup of naturally sweet (caffeine-free) tea
- Eat a small serving of fruit
- Eat high-quality fats regularly throughout the day
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