Welcome to My Year Without

On January 1, 2008, I made a New Year's resolution to cut out refined sugar for one year. I cut out white refined sugar and corn syrups. My quest to be sugar-free evolved into political interest, public health, and letter writing to food manufacturers. Join me in sugar sleuthing, and learn more about the psychological aspects of sugar addiction, and those who push sugar on us.

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?