Why You’re Extremely Tired After Eating Sugar During the Holidays

Dr. Minesh Amin

Just when you think the sugar rush of Halloween is over, the Christmas holidays begin with the overconsumption of Christmas treats and more junk food. Following that, there are New Year celebrations with more treats and excessive alcohol consumption.

All this overconsumption over the holidays can get out of hand, leading you to feel bloated, sick, and extremely tired after eating sugar. In addition, research shows us that sugar can promote cancer and weaken the immune system.

So the problem is, how can you enjoy the holidays without consuming too much sugar, and what is it about sugar that leads us to feel so sick and tired all the time?

Thankfully, we did that research for you. Keep on reading to learn why you feel extremely tired after eating sugar, and how you can avoid feeling this way in the first place!

Why You Feel Extremely Tired After Eating Sugar 

If you think that sugar gives you a boost of energy, in other words, a “sugar high”, that is actually false. Sugar is more of a sedative because it’s after-effects are much stronger than the little “kick” you initially feel.

High sugar consumption inhibits the production of Orexin, which is a chemical in your brain that stimulates the feeling of being awake. The more sugar you eat, the more sleepy you will feel. The same research discovered that the consumption of protein helps to counteract this sleepiness, so if you consume more protein it will help you to stay awake.

This further illustrates the fact that nutrition is not just calories in/calories out, but more on the nutrients that you are consuming.

Sugar and Its Affect on Sleep

The more sugar you consume, the more that it will affect your body’s ability to get in some quality sleep. While you sleep, your body goes through different levels of deep rest, and the most rejuvenating level is called rapid eye movement sleep (REM).

The more sugar you have before bed, the less of a chance you have of staying in deep Rapid Eye movement sleep. Even if you do not fully wake up during the night, it can pull you out of REM sleep, affecting the sensations of feeling well-rested in the morning.

Avoid the Roller Coaster Effect

Sugar consumption also spikes your blood sugar into a wild roller coaster ride, so remember, what comes up must come back down, and it comes down in a hard blood sugar crash. This roller coaster can be addicting to the body, as it starts to depend on the quick fix of sugar to have more energy, ultimately leading to more crashing.

The crashing happens when the pancreas releases more insulin to regulate the high amounts of blood sugar, as this happens, your blood sugar drops even more. the more frequently this happens, the more chances you have of developing insulin resistance, also known as Type 2 Diabetes.

Food and Sugar Sensitivities

If your body is sensitive to sugar, you may experience fatigue due to the fact that it reacts by producing low amounts of beta-endorphins and serotonin. Low levels of these chemicals lead to an experience of fatigue and lethargy.

If you are consuming other foods that your body cannot digest, it will increase inflammation-causing cytokines that can also cause your body to inhibit the production of Orexin.

The more you are consuming these foods, the more tired you will feel. The problem goes deeper than just the experience of feeling tired, as this is just a symptom of a more serious underlying issue. Poor digestion is something not to be taken lightly.

If ignored over a long period of time, this post-meal inflammation can lead to other problems within the body such as auto-immune diseases, digestive disorders, and other conditions.

How to Avoid Eating Too Much Sugar Over the Holidays

Now that you understand why you feel extremely tired after eating sugar, it is important to learn how to avoid over-consumption during the holiday season.

Eat Before The Parties

When you go to a party hungry, every healthy decision you have will go out the window. You are so hungry that everything looks appetizing and you eat way too much of it.

Instead, have a small nourishing meal before you leave for the party, this will help you to keep your head out of the cookie try and focus more on the social aspect of the party.

Consume Protein With the Sugar

Consuming protein with a meal that contains sugar will help your body to produce more Orexin and prevent a huge blood sugar spike. Diets high in protein are recommended for people who suffer from Diabetes for this exact reason.

Consume Fats with Sugar

Eating healthy fats along with the sugar can help your body to slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. This will prevent a crash, and help your body to stay adequately nourished.

Alcohol is Sugar Too

Most people forget that alcohol gets absorbed into your bloodstream in the exact same way that sugar does. It has the same effects as sugar in every possible way, and it is best to avoid high alcohol consumption if you do not want to feel tired all the time.

Eat With Moderation

It is okay to limit yourself to two delicious cookies, or a piece of cake at your Christmas party. However, if you find yourself hanging around the food table while gorging down every holiday treat insight, you may have a problem.

Set a goal for yourself before you even step foot inside the party, and stick to it. You will feel better about it later, as this will also help you to avoid holiday weight gain.

Learn More Healthy Holiday Tips Like This

Now that you understand the science behind why you always feel extremely tired after eating sugar, there is some other important healthy holiday advice you should follow as well.

Contact us to set up an appointment with one of our medical professionals to discover how you can achieve the healthiest feeling that your body is capable of.