Eating sugar before bed: is it bad?

Eating sugar before bed: is it bad?


There are many people who, after dinner, use to consume a sugary snack before going to bed. The negative consequences of consuming added sugars are well known, but before going to bed it affects the body, especially when it comes to sleep.


Intake generous amounts of sugar is strongly linked to chronic inflammation, which in turn is linked to a number of health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes. An inflammatory response is triggered which can also lead to sleep apnea, a condition in which inflamed airways block breathing during sleep. Not only that, sugar can cause inflammation of the tissues lining the mouth and throat, causing swelling and increasing the production of mucus, a condition that negatively affects the quality of sleep because it tends to worsen breathing, causing snoring and worsening sleep apnea .

Sleep quality

Eating high glycemic foods before bed can lead to insomnia and hyperactivity. Refined sugars raise blood sugar levels quickly, which could cause you to feel like a rush of energy and make it difficult to fall asleep. Sleep will in effect be lighter and non-refreshing. Frequent awakenings, as is known, can compromise the quality of sleep and can be linked to respiratory disorders. In general, a diet high in sugar is always associated with poor quality and duration of sleep.

According to a study, sleeping 7 hours a night reduces the risk of multiple chronic diseases .

Ideal snack for sleep…

The ideal foods to consume as an evening snack , before going to sleep , should contain two essential elements for good rest: tryptophan and melatonin . The first is an amino acid that promotes sleep . Since we can’t produce tryptophan naturally, it’s important to consume  foods that contain it .

Among the “sleep-friendly” foods, and which therefore do not hinder rest, we find:

  • milk ,
  • cheese ,
  • eggs ,
  • walnuts ,
  • fish
  • beans .


Melatonin, on the other hand, is a hormone that regulates sleep and  influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle, promoting falling asleep. Foods rich in melatonin are:

  • cherries ,
  • nuts,
  • bananas ,
  • oats
  • tomatoes .

Be careful when reading…

In addition to the wording “contains sugars “, other terms may appear on the label which nevertheless always identify a sugar: it is better to avoid foods containing them before going to bed (or always if you follow a low glycemic diet ). They are:

  • sucrose
  • Brown sugar
  • fructose
  • lactose
  • maltose
  • dextrins
  • corn syrup   with fructose
  • maltodextrins
  • mannitol
  • glucose syrup

Weight gain

Eating foods containing a fair amount of sugar before going to bed has an influence on weight gain. Excess sugar, in fact, is stored in fat cells: at night, when there is little or no physical activity, sugars are not burned or metabolized correctly, therefore it is more likely that there will be an accumulation of fat and the consequent increase in weight. Eating sugary foods early in the day gives you an opportunity to metabolize sugar so it’s used for energy rather than stored as fat.

Foods to avoid before bed

Not only foods high in sugar , there are other foods to avoid  in the evening before bed. These are, for example, spicy ,  acidic or fatty  foods  , which can primarily cause  heartburn  and  gastric reflux , but also  insomnia . Lying down too soon after eating can cause a burning sensation in the chest or a reflux of stomach acid .


In conclusione: mangiare alimenti ricchi di zucchero con una certa frequenza prima di andare a dormire può concretamente causare conseguenze negative sulla salute. Anche la moderazione andrebbe evitata: sarebbe meglio non consumare zucchero prima di andare a letto poiché lo zucchero può agire come un infiammatorio che disturba il sonno.

Sugar should be taken maximum 2 or 3 hours before going to bed to allow for proper digestion. In general, reducing added sugars in your diet, even by a small amount, can be extremely beneficial to your health and restful sleep. The maximum quantity is 6-7 teaspoons of added sugar per day, or, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO): do  not exceed  the dose of  simple sugars  equal to 10% of the daily caloric intake .

These are the best times to go to sleep .

Here is the right music to fall asleep instead .

Ever heard of sugar addiction?

Sugar triggers a real addiction  as it leads to an increase in the release of  dopamine , a  neurotransmitter of the catecholamine  family  , with a control function on: movement, the so-called working memory, but above all on the sensation of pleasure, reward that triggers the desire to repeat the experience. And then to take even more sugar. Hence the difficulty in regulating one’s sugar consumption, despite the immediately visible damage (to the  skin ,  teeth ,  weight gain ).



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