Sleepy After Eating Sugar?

The Connection Between Sugar and Sleep

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Are you ever sleepy after eating sugar? Why does sugar make us sleepy? You will find that sugar could act as a sedative. 

While you may get a burst of energy right after eating a donut or a piece of chocolate cake, You are more likely to feel lethargic due to the after-effects of sugar. We have researched and developed a guide that will outline the exact connection between sugar and sleep.

 If you get sleepy after eating sugar, we are here to answer your questions, such as, “Why does sugar make me tired?” Our expert opinions on sleep will help you see what type of foods to consume to get restful sleep. 

You can finally get the right foods so that you’re not sleepy throughout the day and get enough rest at night. Below, we outline:

  • How sugar causes you to be more sleepy
  • The connection between quality sleep and sugar
  • The hormones that sugar impacts and makes you sleepy
  • How to Avoid Eating Too Many Sugary Foods

Why Are You Sleepy After Eating Sugar?

Do you ever wonder, “Why do I get sleepy after eating sugar?” Well, sugar can mess with your orexin levels. Orexin is a chemical that can control your feeling of wakefulness and hunger. 

Researchers have found that consuming sugar may reduce the activity of orexin chemicals. This is the reason why we’re all likely to get sleepy and tired after having a large Thanksgiving meal or a carb-based lunch or dinner.

This can also lead us to become too tired to exercise and pursue physical activity, further increasing problems with sleeping. Without getting enough physical activity, it may be harder to sleep well during the night.

Your body also spends more time and energy breaking down sugar. Furthermore, foods high in sugar provide little nutritional value and do not give you the energy you need to keep moving throughout the day.

Furthermore, a direct connection has been found between Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and the amount of sugar one consumes.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep and Sugar

While sugar makes me sleepy, it can also ensure that I don’t get a good night’s rest. Too much sugar can ensure that we won’t get the most restful and rejuvenating stage of sleep, known as Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep.

Essentially, the more sugar one consumes before bed, t. The less likely one is towill spend a long time in REM sleep. You may still be asleep, but you won’t feel rested without enough REM sleep once you wake up in the morning.

In addition, research conducted at the University of Tsukuba in 2016 found that mice that underwent REM sleep loss were more likely to consume foods high in sugars and fat. As such, if you’re already not obtaining enough quality sleep, this will only lead you to crave sugar. 

Then, if you consume more sugar, you’re less likely to get REM sleep, and the cycle will continue. Furthermore, a rise in blood sugar levels can increase your risk of developing diabetes. 

Blood Sugar Fluctuations and Diabetes Risk

If you have blood sugar fluctuations and jumps in your blood sugar levels, then you may have problems with your insulin and may be pre-diabetic. If your blood sugar spikes are left untreated, you will have a greater risk of developing full-blown diabetes. The typical symptoms of high blood sugar levels include:

  • Fatigue
  • Persistent urination
  • Ongoing thirst
  • Headaches
  • Blurry eyesight

If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to speak with a doctor and get tested for diabetes. You should consider exercising and drinking water after having a carb-heavy meal to lower your blood sugar levels.

High blood sugar levels can also make you feel uncomfortable when you try to sleep. For example, you may need to use the toilet more often at night, and you may be too hot and restless during sleep.

Hormones and Chemicals Build Up in Body Due to Sugar

Some people’s bodies are more sensitive to sugar. If they consume too much sugar, it may negatively impact their beta-endorphins and serotonin by lowering the amount of these hormones in the body.

If you find these chemicals in much lower levels, you will be more tired and lethargic throughout the day. Any foods that a person has difficulty digesting will raise the inflammation-causing cytokines found in the body, slowing down the creation of Orexin.

Therefore, the more you consume foods high in sugar and other difficult-to-digest ingredients, the more tired and sleepy you will feel during your waking hours. Speak to your doctor if you’re constantly feeling lethargic and having difficulty digesting food.

How to Avoid Consuming Too Much Sugar

While you may want to avoid overeating sugar so that you can sleep better at night and remain awake during the day, you’ll find sugar in tons of foods. Nonetheless, there are key steps you can take to remove sugars from your diet. These include:

  • Eliminating sugary drinks, such as soda, from your meals
  • Avoid desserts filled with sugar (Instead, try some fruit!)
  • Stop buying sauces based in sugar
  • Remove sugar-filled breakfast cereals, waffles, and jams from your diet

To have a much healthier diet, you should eat foods high in fat. Whole foods are also important to include in your diet, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. If you follow these steps, you’ll have a much healthier diet and a better sleep pattern.

Wrap Up

Eating foods high in sugar can mess with your quality of sleep and make you tired and sleepy during the day. You might have inadequate REM sleep due to a diet with too much sugar. 

As such, there are steps you can take to limit sugar, such as removing sugary drinks, desserts, and sweet cereals from your diet. Instead, try eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Before you know it, you’ll be sleeping well, and feeling rested throughout the day.

Nate Devore
Nate Devore
For over 15 years Nate has been obsessed with solving his own personal and difficult health challenges related to sleep, energy, and fatigue. As one of our sleep experts at, Nate is passionate about helping you get the best night’s sleep possible.

Medical Disclaimer: The content on this page should not be taken as medical advice or used as a recommendation for any specific treatment. Always consult your doctor before making any decisions.

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