How sugar affects the brain and sleep

Do you ever wonder if problems sleeping might be caused by your diet?

I don’t mean the old wives’ tales about eating cheese before you go to bed; I mean what you eat and drink on a day-to-day basis.

I’ve been reading recently about sugar, and the effects it can have on our bodies. I was amazed by some of the latest studies and the things people are finding.

When you think of it, humans are basically an energy field – so it stands to reason that what we put into that energy field in terms of food will have an effect.

Thomas Campbell is an ex NASA physicist who set Monroe Laboratories; he has been looking at how sugar can affect the brain. Campbell did an experiment where he meditated and got himself into a relaxed state, then consumed various different foods and drinks to observe their effects. He says that sugar had by far the worst effect, and his brain and body took eight days to get back to normal. Campbell maintains that sugar creates a fog in our brains, and clouds our perception.

There have been lots of news stories and TV shows about sugar lately, investigating the effects it can have on us. You might well say “well, my brain doesn’t feel foggy and I eat sugar…” but these days sugar is everywhere. It’s added to all sorts of foods, many of which we might consider to be “healthy” – after all, that’s how they’re marketed. Anything “low fat” is usually filled with sugar. It’s so easy to consume loads and loads of sugar without junk food or fizzy drinks. And if we’re all jacked up on sugar all the time, that brain fog becomes the norm.

When you’re awake at 2am and staring at the ceiling, you might not automatically look back to the food you ate that day, but realistically, it is highly likely that any more than about 5 teaspoons of sugar in your diet per day is going to have an effect on your brain – and anything that affects your brain will affect your sleep.

A lot of us think we’re eating healthily but the food manufacturers are really clever; it’s well hidden in foods they market as healthy. Fruit smoothies, muesli bars, juices, frozen yoghurt. If you read the label carefully, you’ll find a lot of words ending in “ose” – those are the sugars, and they’re usually there in ridiculous amounts.

I lose count of the number of people who have come to me telling me they “can’t” meditate, that their brain just races at a hundred miles an hour, remembering all the things they need to do or should have done or would do if they could. A large part of this is just what your brain does as you learn to quieten it down. The rest of it could well be the sugar in your body setting your mind racing.

Try cutting sugar out of your diet, or at least cutting back on it, and see if that helps to improve your sleep and your meditation practice. You might be surprised by what happens!

With love
Anandi xx