Stop Sugar and Sleep Better
It’s official. With the arrival of October, the door to the year-end holidays is officially open. And with this comes cooler weather, get-togethers with friends and family, and sugar- lots and lots of sugar!
Trick or Treat?
While sugar may seem like a treat, it’s more of a trickster. A thief, really, that steals away many of the things that support quality sleep. Here are three ways sugar robs your rest.
1 – Sugar depletes Magnesium.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient. It supports brain, heart, muscle, nerve, blood, bone, and DNA health. It also helps to regulate the chemical messengers in the body (neurotransmitters) that help with sleep.
The book “The Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride states that the body requires 56 molecules of magnesium to metabolize one molecule of sugar. That is a losing battle.
There is A LOT of sugar in the standard American diet. Magnesium deficiency is present in about half of the U.S. adult population. It is unlikely someone can supplement their way out of magnesium depletion while eating a high-sugar diet.
2 – Sugar reduces Serotonin.
Serotonin is the “happiness” neurotransmitter. It makes you feel good, provides a sense of calm, and also supports you in saying no to unhealthy choices or violent tendencies. It’s like a chemical “off switch”.
People become depressed, anxious, angry, aggressive, carb-craving (which turn into sugar), and struggle with sleep when serotonin is low!
An important byproduct (or metabolite) of serotonin is melatonin. Melatonin is both a hormone and a powerful antioxidant. It is responsible for helping you fall asleep.
So, that sugary snack that may seem to make you happy is actually reducing your feel-good chemical, which in turn limits the amount of melatonin available to help you fall asleep at night. Not so sweet, right?
3 – Sugar creates Stress.
Maintaining even blood sugar levels are an important factor in stress reduction and more. When sugar is consumed, a spike in blood sugar occurs. This causes a release of adrenaline, which results in the quick energy or “sugar-high” that is often the driver of eating the sugar in the first place.
The human body releases adrenaline for quick-energy, fight or flight situations. It’s faster than burning fat. I often tell clients it’s like taking the escalator instead of the stairs. The escalator is available and easy, so why not? The body will use sugar over fat because its available and easy. And you get left with the fat.
This constant fluctuation of blood sugar can commonly lead to people waking up with anxiety in the middle of the night. It can also result in over-worked adrenal glands. When you are overworked, you get tired. So do your adrenals. And when your adrenal glands are fatigued, so are you.
Stopping the Sugar
Quitting sugar can be challenging. Afterall, it has been shown to be more addictive than cocaine. Here are 3 Tips to help beat this sleep bandit (with links).
- Read food labels for hidden sources of sugar. The app FOODUCATE has a label-scan option that allows the user to see healthier alternatives.
- Eat organic, low-glycemic foods to avoid cravings and crashes. The Glycemic Load Counter: A Pocket Guide to GL and GI values for over 800 Foods is a great resource.
- Take “sun-breaks” outside throughout the day to reduce stress, boost serotonin, improve mood, and increase energy levels.
Finally, given you may have little goblins and ghosts knocking on your door this Halloween, avoid the urge to buy your treats until the day of, and buy only what you need. Better yet, look for alternatives like sheets of stickers or packs of crayons.
And, if you don’t want to deal with trick-or-treaters, be the person in the neighborhood that gives out toothbrushes…
As a busy professional, what is your poor sleep causing you to miss out on? The promotion? The pay raise? Enhanced performance? Clearer thinking? Quality time with your family? It’s time to be promoted to a “Sleep CEO”.
YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO WAIT. I can help you sleep and feel better. Schedule time with me here: https://calendly.com/angie-nicolucci/discovery
This post includes affiliate links.
Sleep, Sleep Coach, Sugar, Magnesium, Serotonin, Melatonin, Stress