Eating Sugar Before Bed – Good or Bad?

Almost all of us crave for something sweet and sugary, at least once in a while. Some people are literally sugar addicts and they’ve developed quite unhealthy habits of devouring large amounts of sweetened food, all kinds of desserts, whether they are homemade or purchased, grabbing a couple of high calorie biscuits, cookies or chocolate bars on a daily basis and so on.

Other people, who are not so fond of sweets and desserts in general also feel the need to have something sugary, in order to recharge their body supplies or get instant energy. All of us have the same basic organism composition, but our individual biological clock and body needs are diverse.

Some people cannot even imagine their breakfast without something sweet. It could be a healthy muesli meal, enriched with dried fruits or not so healthy cake or cookies, but those people crave for sugar in the morning. Others can’t resist a delicious dessert after lunch.

There are millions of people that feel an irresistible need to grab something sweet in the evening or late at night. A hot cocoa drink or sweetened milk, a chamomile tea with honey, a row of chocolate or some juicy fruits; those are all pretty common bedtime snacks.

However, you may ask yourself is it good or bad for your health? Would consuming sugar and sugary food at bedtime disturb your sleep and endanger your waistline?

Would consuming sugar at bedtime disturb my sleep?

Let as break one of the most popular sugary myths. There are many claims that sugar affects sleep in a bad way. It is a common belief sugar would boost your energy level so high that you’ll be unable to sleep, just as if you’ve had a cup of strong coffee. Well, that’s not true, on the contrary. It is true sugar will boost your energy, but only for a very short time. It simply doesn’t work for long-term wakefulness.

In fact, that instant energy boost that rapidly goes low would make you even sleepier, actually. If you’ve ever had a cup of sugared chamomile tea or milk, for example, you’re certainly familiar with its calming effect. Milk and chamomile tea are particularly sleep inducing; sugar just improves their properties.

There is a simple scientific explanation for that. All sorts of sugar we ingest would turn into glucose in our system. It applies to all types of sugar: a common white one, brown sugar, cane or beet sugar and honey, as well. Sugars are found in viands such as bread and potatoes, for example and they would also turn into glucose in our blood. Glucose is an energy molecule. The fact that sugary food gives as an instant flow of energy could be easily explained by the fact that it is easily accessible from sugar itself. This is the reason you feel a rapid waking effects just after you ingested something sugary.

However, it would most certainly get followed by a rapid crash and an intense sense of tiredness and sleepiness.

Sugar won’t make you hyperactive and disturb your sleep, on the contrary. It could even help you fall asleep. It is of major importance to mind what type of sugary food you ingest, dough. If you’ve had a delicious large piece of cake, which is indeed full of sugar, you really couldn’t hope for sweet dreams. It would most likely cause you feel tired and sleepy, but it would get you digestive issues, not to mention extra calories. Sweetened decaf tea or low fat milk would be far better choice. If you want something to bite, it is better you have some fruit.

It also contains sugar, but it is generally low in calories and full of vitamins and minerals. Another option is a fruit smoothie, no added sugars or made with honey. Avoid commercial sweets and such and mind the amounts, of course.

Will I gain weight or get ill if I eat sugar at bedtime?

Well, this is quite a common question. Sugar lovers are often concerned whether their sugary late night snack gets them extra pounds or not. Eating too much sugar or having a lot of sweetened drinks or food at any time of the day certainly won’t benefit your overall health. You certainly know extra sugar your body doesn’t process would be stored as fat. It is a simple calculation: you ingest too much calories (not to mention empty calories from pure sugar, your body can’t actually utilize) and doesn’t burn them, your body stores then in form of fat and you get obese. It is far more than just looks; obesity is a serious condition that would affect your overall health and get you serious health problems.

It all depends on the level of your activity, your daily routine, your daily calorie intake and your general lifestyle. So don’t expect to stay slim if you eat tones of sugar at bedtime and have quite a sedentary daily routine.

Also, don’t expect to stay healthy even if your sugar intake doesn’t go over your daily calorie limit, but it takes up too much of your menu. Just track what you eat and choose wisely. A balanced diet plan could include sweets and sugar, of course.

Spoonful of sugar for sweet dreams

Therefore, it is ok to drink a cup of sugared warm tea or milk before bed. A teaspoon of sugar contains about 16 calories. The number may slightly vary with types of sugar. Honey is higher in calories, but it also contains precious compounds and it has healthy properties. So, a hot bedtime sugared drink is not dangerous to your waistline, if you generally take care of your calories and sugar intake. There is a little chance you get fat from having a spoonful of plain sugar at night, but we suppose it’s not so likely you would do that.

On the other hand, sweet, sugary snacks before bed are a big no. They contain the whole army of various compounds that may affect your sleep and get you digestive problems. Cookies, cakes, ice creams and all other desserts are generally high in calories, so stay away from them in the evening. Your body is getting ready to sleep, not to burn all those calories.

Create a good and balanced nutrition plan that would suffice your individual needs. Keep in mind you need various nutrients to stay healthy and vital. Sugar is not to be completely excluded. Even of you don’t crave for pure sugar and sweets, you would still ingest it through other viands, such as fruits and vegetables, in the first place.

If you wonder whether something sweet before bed will keep you awake or cause you gain weight or not, you can relax. Just choose wisely and don’t go overboard with any type of sugar. Prepare a hot, sugared bedtime drink and enjoy literally sweet dreams.