​The Crazy Connection Between Sleep, Sugar, and Success in Your Health Goals

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by Kevin Jones

Sugar is making us fat.

A no brainer statement, right? We all know the correlation between the increase in added sugar and the obesity epidemic. What you might not know is that it goes deeper than that…you might be sabotaging your weight loss or maintenance efforts by not sleeping enough.

The University of Chicago has found that those who don’t sleep enough impact their weight on a molecular level. So if you have been finding yourself piling onto – or just holding onto – the pounds, it might be as simple as needing a few more winks.
What is the cause of this? There are several, but one in particular is a serious bane for those trying to watch their health: food cravings.

The Link Between Sugar and Sleep

Our bodies run on glucose. It is the most effective form of energy that we have at our disposal, acting quickly and efficiently to get us up and moving. It is why carbs make up such a large part of most people’s diet, especially more active people.

But too many simple carbs, especially sugar, are calorie-dense, can lack nutrition and may cause an excess of energy that can’t be readily burned off. That leads to fat production as that energy is stored for another day.

The solution is simple, eat a moderate amount of carbs and vary your diet with healthy fats and lots of protein, right? Not so fast, it might not be so easy to say no to that donut after a short night’s sleep.

Researchers at King’s College London have found that people who sleep less tend to crave sugary foods more. Those who sleep more have an easier time controlling themselves and so are more likely to reach or maintain a healthy weight.

The Sugar Cycle

Anyone who has fallen into the sugar cycle knows how it goes. You are tired and lagging and so want something quick to perk you up. So you reach for that delicious cookie, or that sugary coffee drink to boost your energy. Within a couple of hours you are lagging again. You reach for the cookie and it goes on and on.

Breaking the cycle starts first with getting proper sleep to keep that energy from falling in the first place. Not only will you be more alert and less likely to seek an unhealthy boost, but you will also have less cravings.

So next time you are thinking of staying up for another episode in your Netflix binge, think of the cost the next morning. More sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health and your waistline.

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