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The Not-So-Sweet Truth About Sugar and Sleep


The holidays are coming, and that means all the sweet treats (and sugar) that come with them. The bad news: sugar and sleep do not mix well. The good news: you can skip sugar highs and lows with healthy alternatives and delicious flavors.

According to the National Library of Medicine, a sleep study was done to measure the correlation between higher sugar intake and sleep issues. “The study concluded that poor sleep quality was significantly related to higher added sugar intake," the article states. “With high sugar intake, 100% of the participants had poor quality sleep, whereas with low sugar intake, only 65.2% of the participants had poor quality sleep.” Translation: sugar and sleep are negatively correlated.

Oof. That’s right—unfortunately, your beloved chocolate chip cookies and ice cream scoops can negatively affect your nightly sleep routine, including the amount of time you sleep and the quality of your sleep. It’s a big bummer for those of us with a sweet tooth, especially for the upcoming holidays (think sugar-heavy Halloween and Thanksgiving). But knowledge is power, and knowing what works for the body can help us live longer, better lives.

Why does sugar affect sleep?

There are biological reasons why sugar and sleep are like oil and water. In an article in The Guardian, dietician Alex Evans says, “Eating sugar late at night overstimulates you. It gives you energy and makes you ready for activity, but that is not what we’re trying to do at night. We’re designed to shut down towards the end of the day.” Nutritional therapist Charlotte Evans also notes, “Sugar uses up a lot of magnesium, which you need for sleep.” Bottom line: if you need more zzz’s, cut down on the sweets. 

Making the change

So how do you curb the need for sugary treats at night? There are plenty of ways. Sometimes, what feels like hunger can actually just be dehydration. Try drinking some water to gauge your body’s true level of hunger. If you think substitution might be the way to go, nothing is better than Dream Powder, a healthy hot cocoa for sleep that comes in delicious flavors and contains no added sugar. You can add it to hot water, or pour it into hot milk for a creamier taste. With powerful natural ingredients for sleep and decadent, dessert-like flavors (think Sea Salt Caramel and Pumpkin Spice), it’s the perfect way to kick the night-time sugar cravings and dive into the holidays well-rested. Separate sugar and sleep, and you're on your way to proper rest and a better tomorrow.

Sleep fact: Consuming too much sugar affects our “deep sleep,” which impacts metabolism and recovery. Want to learn more? Check out this TikTok.

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