Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sugar and Sleepiness

I haven't blogged in a while (2 years...?) because I've been experimenting with sugar. Sugar as it relates to my sleep cycle. Motivation. Naps. Nightmares.

My suspicions have been confirmed, and now it's time to share what I learned. For the record, my experiences obviously don't mean this is what is happening to everyone, however, they could represent what others of you might be experiencing. I would love to hear from you either way!

I have determined that when I eat sugar at night (anytime after 7 or 8pm) I have a more difficult time going to sleep. It may be this restless going in and out of sleep and/or accompanied by nightmares. Why is this so?

I get sleepy during the day at different times so I have spent the last several years experimenting with meals, specific foods and noting when I get tired. I will most likely always be tired after a very large meal. So I have stopped eating large meals unless I'm at home and can roll onto the couch to catch a quick snore. Otherwise, especially days I have a busy schedule, I will not eat any sugar (check the label on your yogurt, my friends!) AND I'll only eat small amounts of what I do eat. For instance I will have my morning cup of drip coffee and a small dish of nuts and fruit. Then I will pack an apple or banana and more nuts and sometimes string cheese. If it's going to be a really long day I will also make a no-sugar, vegan protein shake with water and frozen fruit and bring it with. These small bits of food keep me slightly hungry and therefore less tired.

No matter what, I take an afternoon nap, but it's always a great day when I get to choose the time of day instead of my body saying, "Sleep now or you are going to collapse! Yes, right here on this bench in the west wing of this crowded museum in front of everyone! Sleep, now!"

Side note: I have memories of working at my first real job (babysitting only paid $3/hr in the 80's so not so much a real job) in an office as a file clerk. Mom dropped me off after school and I spent the afternoon filing and sharing the nice ladies' M&M's they had in crystal dishes on their desks. I wondered if they put them out mostly for visitors or for themselves, because they always seemed happy when I took some but often by 5pm the dishes were empty. Now I can say I've been in similar jobs where I've been sitting and it's the afternoon and I ate too much lunch and anything with sugar seems like a fix.

For me, sugar is directly related to feeling tired and sometimes the need to nap right away. Without exception those Sunday morning donuts with coffee gift me with a few minutes to get from the kitchen table back to bed to nap it off. On long road trips I'll stay alert and peppy if I nibble on carrots instead of Skittles. If Jeff sees me open a bag of candy on the road he moans because he knows I'll be asleep in a few minutes and all conversation comes to a screeching halt.

I'll write more later about different kinds of sugar but for now, for this article, I'll just say that any food with added sugar is a serious threat to my wakefulness. Does anyone relate to this?


Locavore Family said...

Hi. I followed your blog for years when I was a budding blogger, but lost touch. As I cut out sugar this week, I remembered your blog and wondered how you're doing. Glad to see you came back to update with your experience and insight! My step-mother also can't consume sugar after 7 p.m., or else she either has troubles sleeping or wakes suddenly in the middle of the night with no hope of more sleep.

Interestingly, I'm noticing that cutting out sugar has suddenly stopped my reflux and I'm trying to research more about why that's so.

My Year Without said...

Well thank you for thinking of me and my blog! Good for you for cutting it out again! How interesting about your reflux going away....and your step-mother's night time reaction to sugar. If there are a few of us where this is true, then I wonder how many people across the board are also experiencing similar disastrous affects of sugar?

It's a constant struggle for me. I either have to quit cold turkey or try my best every single day to moderate my intake. Some days are easier than others with no apparent explanation! I try to always have on hand dried fruit and fresh fruit and I keep my pantry virtually sugar-free. So it's when I'm out in the world that I'm mostly tempted.....sweets look very appetizing behind a shiny glass window.

I'd love to hear more about how your week goes and I'm curious to know if your reflux returns or not. This is quite interesting!

Thank you for writing.