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Why Sleeping With Sugar is a Nightmare

If you thought the risks for obesity, heart disease and diabetes were bad enough, it’s worth noting that excess sugar can also have negative effects on our sleep cycle – this can in turn lead to a host of health issues, from mental health disorders to chronic fatigue and even high blood-sugar levels. Yikes. We’ll be exploring the ways in which sugar affects sleep and give you a few tips to get a bit of shut-eye.

Sugar disrupts your circadian rhythm

Consuming excess amounts of added sugar can throw your circadian rhythm out of whack – that’s the body's internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Eating sugary foods before bedtime can be especially disruptive to quality sleep, which is defined as sleep free from interruptions and loud noises in a dark, quiet and cool space. 7-9 hours are generally ideal, but more important than duration is the quality!

Increases the risk for sleep apnoea

Sugar consumption can also increase the risk of developing sleep disorders like sleep apnoea – this condition causes breathing interruptions during sleep, leading to disrupted sleep and daytime fatigue.

Sugar can affect REM sleep

Sugar can disrupt the quality of our Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, and this stage of the sleep cycle is essential for cognitive function, learning, and memory consolidation. It’s also important that we complete the REM cycle in order to have a quality sleep, and the research shows that excess sugar consumption may well throw a spanner in the works here, finding that those who ate more sugary, processed foods had disrupted sleep, and therefore a disrupted day. So, the verdict is in – sugar is a sleep nightmare! Pun intended.

A few ways to improve your sleep cycle

Limit sugar intake: This one’s a given – cutting down on your sugar consumption intake, especially before you hit the sack, can help improve sleep quality, not to mention whole-body health. You’ll find your mood more stable and your sleep more reliable – so steer clear of the ice cream during your midnight snack attack!

Get more exercise: Exercise provides a number of health benefits that affect sleeping patterns, including exposure to sunlight and increased circulation. Poor circulation can do a number on your sleep cycle, and exercise is a simple way to get things moving again and stop the cycle of poor sleep. In fact, exercise has been directly linked with improving our sleep quality, thereby reducing the risk of sleep inertia. But try to keep your exercise earlier in the day when the sun’s out – exercising intensively right before bed can throw your sleep cycle off kilter. Another reason to get outside for a walk or jog is because, unlike artificial blue light, a little bit of natural light from the sun stimulates melatonin production, helping us regulate our sleep cycle hormones. If you’re getting up for an early morning jog, consider using a less jarring alarm to wake you. Those loud, blaring alarm clocks often cause anxiety and confusion, which can increase your fatigue.

Reduce the blue light: Ever fallen asleep to a video on your screen? Even if it’s a relaxing meditation clip or a comforting movie, falling asleep to screens every night or scrolling social media wreaks havoc on your sleep cycle due to the exposure to blue light. These lights suppress our natural secretion of the sleep hormone, melatonin – we need this to keep our circadian rhythm in balance. This rhythm is responsible for our sleeping and waking functions. But with Aussies spending an average of 5.5 hours on their mobile phone screens a day, it’s safe to say we have a bit of a problem with blue light. Screens and lighting are only getting brighter with an influx of ultra-bright efficient lights, along with high-quality computer and phone screen displays. While they might look nice, that’s where the benefits stop. While some blue light is fine – in fact, blue light is produced naturally from the sun – most of us are getting overdosed with hours of exposure each day. Research has found a direct link between this overexposure and sleep inertia – so it’s worth limiting your exposure:

  • Buy a pair of blue-light glasses
  • Reduce screen time
  • Try red light lamps: Unlike blue light, studies have found red light may prevent sleep inertia. Switch your LED lights for some red-light lamps in the bedroom.

Need a little extra help quitting sugar? It’s no secret that a sugar habit is a tough one to beat – wherever you go, sugar is there. Unlike ditching alcohol, there are few places where sugar is unwelcome. From birthday parties and functions to the office pantry, Sunday markets and the supermarket. Is it any wonder that so many of us find it hard to quit the stuff? That’s why it can also help to join a program like ours – our 8-Week Program is based on accountability, support and providing the essential resources to set you up for success. We’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining.

We’ve also got nutritionists, personal trainers and naturopaths in our team of experts, and they understand what our bodies need and how to best arm ourselves against those cravings. So, if you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
  2. 90+ member-only recipes.
  3. Community forums to share your journey.
  4. Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
  5. Exclusive content from our panel of experts.

So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!




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