Sugar is no friend to a good night’s sleep – in fact, a diet high in this addictive stuff could be contributing to unstable sleep cycles, fatigue, mood swings and even increased sugar cravings! Here’s what you need to know.
Ah, sugar. Sweet and oh-so-addictive. But there’s nothing sweet about what it’s doing to your sleep cycles. We all know that consuming too much of the stuff can wreak havoc on our waistlines, but did you know that it can have a similar effect on our sleep? Let's start with the basics.
What happens to your body when you eat too much sugar
When we eat fructose, especially in ultra-processed foods void of fibre, we end up with a spike in our blood-sugar levels, which in turn triggers the release of insulin to bring those levels back down. While this might not seem like a big deal, it can actually have a significant impact on our sleep. When our blood-sugar levels drop rapidly, our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to compensate. This can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. In addition, sugar can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle. Without enough melatonin, we may struggle to feel drowsy when it's time for bed. But it doesn’t stop there! Sugar can also cause inflammation in the body, which can also cause unstable hormone productions, with far-reaching effects into our sleeping, eating and waking cycles. Sugar can also 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.
What to do
Along with cutting out excess sugar, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your screen usage – screens and lighting are overdosing us with hours of exposure to blue light each day. Research has found a direct link between this overexposure and poor sleep. But, what can you do to break the cycle of sugar-induced sleeplessness? First and foremost, try to cut back on your added sugar intake or even cut it out entirely. Opt for whole foods instead of processed snacks and drinks, and try to limit your intake of sugary treats to special occasions. You can also try incorporating sleep-promoting foods into your diet, such as cherries, almonds and walnuts – the omega 3s in the latter are highly beneficial for hormone regulation, while the healthy fats leave us feeling satisfied. You’ll also want to make sure you're getting enough exercise during the day to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. A tired body is more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.
Need a little 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:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- 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!