Researchers Find Connection Between More Sugar and Less Sleep

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You can’t stave off sleep with sugar.

I love sweet things, and really, who doesn’t? Sweet is a pleasant taste, and sugar is good for your brain when you’re feeling drowsy. But do you feel like you indulge a little too much in the sweet stuff? One of the first things they tell us as kids is to enjoy sugar in moderation, but when you keep feeling drowsy, your brain keeps craving that quick pick-me-up. The obvious problem there, though, is not the sugar (or at least not just the sugar), but the constant drowsiness.

According to a new study from Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center, people, especially women, feel a greater craving for sugary stuff when they aren’t getting enough sleep. That’s obviously a problem, since a combination of bad sleep habits and overindulgence in snacks can lead to obesity or diabetes.

At least a third of the 500 women who were monitored for this study complained of poor sleep or insomnia. These same women often consumed 500 to 800 extra calories a day in sugary and caffeinated food and drink.

It is believed that being sleep-deprived can cause hormonal imbalances. Specifically, imbalances in the hippocampus section of your brain, which controls hunger-related hormones. So if you’re worried about overdoing it on the snacks, you might need to get a good night’s sleep. And by “a good night,” I mean multiple good nights, consistently. Stay away from stimulating foods and activities late at night, and make sure your bedroom is dark and comfortable. Talk to your doctor if you’re suffering from consistent insomnia.