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A Halloween Candy Sugar Rush Can Wreck Your Sleep. Here's What to Do

Tips on how to sleep if you (or your kiddos) had one too many chocolate bars before bed this Halloween season.

Halloween candy in a jack o'lantern.
Too much Halloween candy before bed can harm sleep, but doing this can help. 
Getty Images

Whether you're eating your leftover candy, sneaking some from your kid's Halloween stockpile or you have your own stash of treats you're saving to snack on, it's hard to turn down the sweet stuff this time of year. While it makes for a nice movie-watching snack or dessert, eating too many sweets too close to bedtime can harm your sleep and make it harder to doze off.

Having a rush of energy when you should be winding down is counterproductive to a good night's rest, which may leave you feeling groggy or unrefreshed the morning after.

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If you (or your kiddos) have treated yourselves to your fair share of Halloween candy, caramel apples and pumpkin bread this holiday, here are some tips and tricks to help promote sleepiness during a sugar rush. 

For more help falling asleep, here are six ways to doze off quicker and how to tackle anxiety at night.  

Why sugar affects sleep

A 2019 study conducted by the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found those who eat high amounts of sugar experience restlessness and less deep sleep at night. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup found in candy can also significantly increase blood sugar levels, giving you what feels like a rush of energy that makes it more challenging to drift off to sleep. 

Sugar can also delay your body's natural melatonin production, a hormone that plays a role in your sleep-wake cycle and promotes sleepiness. As a result, your late-night sweet tooth can be a big disruptor for you or your kid's bedtime. 

How to sleep after too much sugar

Eat protein with your sweets

When you're having a sweet tooth, pair your sweets with a side of protein to help offset your sugar rush. Eating proteins may aid your body to produce more orexin, a hormone that regulates appetite and sleep, and help counteract a spike in blood sugar. 

Take a warm bath 

A person taking a bath while reading, a good habit for sleep

Taking a warm bath before bed can help you get better sleep.

Steven Errico/Getty Images

Your core temperature naturally drops during early sleep stages. To the body, that temperature decline is a signal for rest. Taking a warm bath an hour and a half before bed can help trigger your thermoregulatory system, promoting greater blood circulation from the core to the hands and feet. This helps lower body temperature and remove body heat, helping signal to your body that it's time for bed. It's also a good tip for parents who are trying to stop their little monsters from bouncing off the walls.     

Try a natural sleep aid 

Natural sleep aids like herbal tea, CBD oil and essential oils promote relaxation and can help you wind down so you feel more prepared to get ready for bed.  

Optimize your home and bedroom for sleep 

The surroundings in your home can have an impact on your quality of sleep, so make sure your environment is working with you to help you get better sleep:

  • Lower or dim the lights in your home to make it darker and signal to your body it's time for bed. Our circadian rhythm is heavily influenced by light and darkness, and your body will produce more melatonin in low-light conditions. 
  • Ensure you have a comfortable mattress you actually look forward to climbing in and tucking yourself into. The firmness profile should suit your sleeping position, and the construction should accommodate your body type.
  • Stay off electronic devices an hour and a half before bed. Technology like your TV, laptop and phone omit a blue light that can delay your body's melatonin production.

If you generally have trouble sleeping, with or without sugar, check out our article that lists 27 tips to get better sleep and the best yoga poses to try before bed.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.