If you feel tired after eating sugar, changing how and when you eat sweets can help your body better process sugar. You can try eating sweets that contain fat and/or protein, or eating sweets directly after a meal. Making an effort to cut back on your sugar consumption can also help you stop feeling tired after eating pie, cake, or cookies.
EditGetting Smart about Sweets
- Don’t binge on sweets. It’s okay to eat a piece of cheesecake, but eating half of a cheesecake can cause you to feel sleepy in the minutes or hours that follow. Try reducing the amount of sugar you consume in a single setting. For example, if the serving size is ten gummy bears, try to stick to the serving size instead of going overboard.
- Try eating protein before or with sugar. Eating a little protein before or while you consume sugar can help cancel out the sleepy side effects of sweets. Go for desserts that include some protein, like cheesecake or sweets that include peanut butter. Or try eating nuts or meat before sweets.
- This doesn’t mean that eating protein powder along with a whole cake will help!
- Eat fat along with your sweets. Sometimes the sugar from fruit can make you feel tired. It can also create a surge of energy, followed by a crash. You can help your body process the sugar more efficiently, and prevent blood sugar spikes and plunges by including fat and protein with your fruit. For example, if you usually consume a fruit smoothie and feel sleepy afterward, try eating a handful of almonds right before you enjoy the smoothie.
- Swap out stand-alone sugary snacks for post-meal desserts. Try to avoid eating sugary snacks. Eating sugary foods on their own can cause the sleepiness that some people feel after they consume sweets. For example, if you snack on sugary foods in the middle of the afternoon, rather than after a meal, you are more likely to experience adverse symptoms, like lethargy or drowsiness. Instead, try eating sweets after a well-balanced meal to help your body better maintain appropriate blood sugar levels.
- Avoid drinks that contain both sugar and caffeine. While a sugary coffee drink may give you an initial jolt of energy, the combination of caffeine and sugar can cause your energy levels to crash. This can lead to feeling tired and even lethargic. Try to stay away from sugary coffee drinks, sodas, and energy drinks. Instead, try drinking flavored sparkling water, slightly sweetened tea, or black coffee if you need a caffeine fix.
EditCutting Back on Sugar
- Reduce the amount of sugar you consume each day. If you fall asleep often after eating sweets, it could be a sign you need to cut back on how often you consume sugar. Try to keep your daily sugar intake within respected dietary guidelines. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that only 10% of a person’s total daily calories come from sugar. For example, a 2000 calorie diet should contain no more than 200 calories from sugar each day.
- Try replacing sugary drinks with water.
- You can also replace sweet snacks with low-sugar fruit, like berries.
- Keep an eye on added sugars. A lot of processed foods contain high amounts of sugar. Foods like salad dressing or yogurt can contain surprising amounts of added sugars, thwarting your best efforts to cut back on sugar. Read food labels carefully and be on the lookout for added sugars like:
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Malt syrup
- Raw sugar
- Talk to your doctor. If you feel sleepy after eating sweets, it could be a sign of underlying medical issues. If you have consistent trouble staying awake after eating sugar, make an appointment to see your doctor. They can perform tests to see if your blood sugar is normal, and can help you figure out ways to cut back on sugar in your diet.
EditOvercoming Your Sleepiness
- Get moving. If you find yourself falling asleep after eating sweets, try exercising. A gentle walk or a full-blown workout can help energize you. Try going for a short walk around your office building if your afternoon treat leaves you feeling lethargic.
- Avoid consuming additional sugar. If you find yourself crashing, it’s easy to reach for another cookie or energy drink for a quick boost. Avoid doing this, as you will only cause your blood sugar to peak and then crash again, possibly leaving you more tired.
- Drink a glass of water or a cup of tea. Dehydration can often mask itself as a sugar craving. Before you indulge in a sweet treat, try drinking a large glass of water or a cup of tea to see if hydrating can curb the craving.
- Let the sunshine in. Another way to overcome the sleepiness brought about by consuming too much sugar is to step outside. Sunshine can warm and invigorate you. Spending time in the sun will give you an added boost of vitamin D, a nutrient that is essential to overall health and wellbeing.