Sleep problems due to fluctuating blood sugar levels

Sleep problems due to fluctuating blood sugar levels

Many women 40+ have problems sleeping well. Either they have a hard time falling asleep and are awake for hours at first, or they fall asleep like a log but wake up somewhere between 3 and 4 hours, after which they can’t get back to sleep. Some can set the clock on it. Do you recognize this?

In this article I want to talk about this variant of poor sleep: lying awake in the middle of the night and unable to fall asleep. This usually has to do with your blood sugar level and the hormone insulin. I’m going to explain this to you.

Blood sugar and insulin

Insulin is the hormone your body makes to keep your blood sugar at a stable level. Your blood sugar rises as a result of eating food. Insulin makes him drop again. If you eat sugar, your blood sugar level (the word says it all) rises very quickly. In that case, insulin must also be produced very quickly, because a blood sugar level that is too high is a sledgehammer for your body.

It throws all kinds of processes out of balance and you really don’t want that. Insulin will therefore convert the ‘wrong’ sugar in your blood into a good form of sugar for your muscles or liver  (glycogen), or it will store it in your fat.

Sleep problems due to fluctuating blood sugar levels

One more thing about sugar. I recently heard a woman say that she stopped eating sugar while eating a white sandwich with cheese. White bread (and all other refined carbohydrates such as white flour, pasta, white rice, etc.) have exactly the same effect on your body as sugar. Even then, your blood sugar level immediately rises and your insulin has to work to bring it down again. Be aware of this.

If you eat sugar or refined carbohydrates for a long time and with great regularity, your insulin has to come into action every time. For your body, this is something like constantly accelerating a car (eating sugar) and then applying the brake (insulin). Accelerate and brake. Your car will not like this. Neither does your body.

Over time, your body may even give up and your cells become less sensitive to insulin. Because your blood sugar has to go down anyway, more and more insulin is produced. As a result of this hefty dose of insulin, your blood sugar level is brought down more quickly. There is, as it were, more gas and harder braking. Do you understand what I mean? Now, what does all this have to do with your sleep you may ask?

Keep your blood glucose level stable

For a good night’s sleep, it is very important that your brain continues to get enough blood sugar at night. Your brain cells also need energy at night. In addition, your brain produces the happiness hormone serotonin, which is converted in the dark into melatonin, your sleep hormone. This process works best when your blood glucose level has as few fluctuations as possible during the night.

Sleep problems due to fluctuating blood sugar levels

If your blood sugar fluctuates sharply because you have eaten a large piece of chocolate or a leftover macaroni just before going to sleep, your blood glucose level first peaks and then goes through a trough, this disrupts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is made by converting serotonin.

This is the first wake-holder. The strong drop then activates a reserve mechanism to maintain your blood sugar, which is your stress hormone cortisol. That’s the second wake-holder. Cortisol normally starts to rise quietly from 2 a.m. to “kick” you awake somewhere between 6 and 8 a.m. If your blood sugar drops too quickly, cortisol is used to keep your blood sugar levels back up and wakes you up. 

Sleep problems? Eat an egg!

Sleep problems due to fluctuating blood sugar levels

So I hope the solution to this sleeping problem is clear. Preferably nothing at all about three hours before going to sleep and if you do want something, eat some fats or proteins such as a handful of unroasted nuts or a boiled egg. Did you use to sleep well, despite late dinners including dessert? Me too. Unfortunately, your and my bodies change with age whether we like it or not. It won’t stay as it is. I chose to listen to it and give it its way in many ways. I’m not going to battle. I made friends and I like it very much. What are you doing?


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