Getting a good night’s sleep is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. We all have a lot on our minds, and the amount of content available to us these days via TikTok and other social channels doesn't make it any easier to rest our minds for the evening. Better sleep habits don't happen overnight, but there are small steps we can take to get us there. But screen time isn't the only stimulant we should be avoid at least an hour before bed––consumable stimulants like sugar and caffeine can keep you up at night and affect the overall quality of your sleep.
Sugar Before Bed
Eating excessive amounts of sugar close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality. Regardless of your regular blood sugar levels––which according to the Sleep Foundation, already naturally increases throughout the night––blood sugar tends to spike after sugar consumption. This spike triggers the release of insulin to regulate blood sugar back to normal levels. The insulin release can keep you up throughout the night. When the insulin removes the sugar, your body experiences a crash that can keep you up when you're trying to wind down.
High sugar intake before you hit the hay can affect your mental health as well. Waking up during the night, restless sleep, nightmares, and overall poor sleep quality are all potential side effects. Insulin releases in this case, but the same can be said for adrenaline and cortisol.
Sugar-Free Alternatives Before Sleep
Now that you know the negatives of sugar before bed, what can you do? Maybe you’ve already eaten a candy bar as you’re reading this. Don’t stress! Ultimately, you should stick to a bedtime routine that works for you. If you feel a bit groggy tomorrow, you can try again the next night.
Reducing your sugar intake before bed is crucial. Desserts, sodas, and sugary snacks should be enjoyed with ample time (2-4 hours) before bed. If you tend to crave sweets after dinner, you can achieve similar satisfaction with fruits or sugar-free alternatives. If you still find yourself lacking some sustenance, consuming a smaller savory snack or warm herbal tea also aids in restful sleep.
Changing one habit might disrupt the other aspects of your usual activity before bed. Stay true to your bedtime routine and do what comes naturally. Dimming the lights, reading a book, and enjoying a warm bath are all worthwhile nighttime activities that communicate to your body for you. Once your body receives the hint that it’s time to wind down for bed, you’ll feel more at ease when your head hits the pillow.
Sugar before bed can impact your sleep quality quite a bit. Practicing a sugar intake reduction before the night ends prevents you from sabotaging your nighttime routine. Combatting the next day after having sugar before bed is not an easy feat, but it's doable. If you maintain mindful choices and adopt good sleep habits, your sleep issues can slowly revert back to normal. Keeping these habitual practices can very well improve your sleep quality and overall energy throughout the day.