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Insomnia and Sugar cravings

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I am suffering from insomnia lately and I have suffered from it once before due to stress and anxiety issues and I notice that there are times where the insomnia has made me have INTENCE cravings for sugar!

The first time I had insomnia I felt like dates. I would eat 200g of fresh dates the craving was so bad.

This time, it is sweet potato, as I seam to eat a lot of that! And sugars like maple syrup…. This morning I gave in to a craving and had a mixed pear fruit salad with 2 diff varieties chopped up and SMOTHERED in maple syrup. As in, I poured half the bottle in lol!

I don’t mind, I only eat healthy clean foods most of my meals are normal and balanced, so giving in to a craving once in a while doesn’t matter to me. I sot and enjoy it and don’t binge.

I am wondering weather any one else has developed HUGE sugar cravings due to insomnia?

It makes sense that my body feels like compensating the exhaustion with sugar but I am not a scientist or biochemist or expert so I can only go on other peoples experiences!

Please tell me about your experiences with insomnia, and weather you were able to resolve it!

Any help would be appreciated!

I am seeing a doctor next Tuesday about it.

And no, it is not to do with my diet, I have been eating this way for a long time and have only gotten insomnia due to personal, non physical triggers…. Which THEN causes me to crave sugar, which I occasionally have at night, which fuels the insomnia because my body starts waking up and expecting sugar every night!

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i also had the massive sugar cravings when i was having insomnia a few months ago.

upon my doctor-cousin's suggestion, i've been taking melatonin before bedtime to control said sugar cravings  for a month and a half, and it really helps me to fall asleep as well.

therefore, i would venture to extrapolate that sugar cravings and insomnia may simply be a lack of melatonin. 

may be worth mentioning to your doc!

Thanks, I actually have some melatonin in my “ medication” bag hah, I have accumulated quiet a few, for example: vitamins for skin, calcium supplements, a good quality multi V, fish oil supplement, but I only use he calcium and multi regularly, the rest are for when I am sick and need a particular thing.

I also have Valerian, which is supposed to relieve insomnia.

I didn’t bother with those more natural things because even the strong stuff I got prescribed by my doctor did not work, despite the fact that I took 3 instead of 2!

I have just taken 1 Valerian, I hope it works!

Has any ones skin suffered due to insomnia? My skin had been really nice and people had been commenting on how much nicer it was looking, then all of a sudden the lack of sleep caught up with me and my skin just broke out!

Having lots of fats was really helping my skin ( about 35% of my calories) and cold pressed flaxseed oil most days seamed to help, as well as having a lot more salmon, so I will keep doing that!


I also have Valerian, which is supposed to relieve insomnia.

Has any ones skin suffered due to insomnia? My skin had been really nice and people had been commenting on how much nicer it was looking, then all of a sudden the lack of sleep caught up with me and my skin just broke out!

Having lots of fats was really helping my skin ( about 35% of my calories) and cold pressed flaxseed oil most days seamed to help, as well as having a lot more salmon, so I will keep doing that!


1. valerian is a good alternative, also it's the kind of thing that if you take regularly it helps to promote better sleep.  also what i found helps is 5htp, which is artificial serotonin (i think). 

2. the skin needs fats- whenever i eliminate fat completely from my diet, my skin becomes dreadful straightaway!  almonds are a very good option.  the only thing that fixes my skin is lots of sleep and lots of water and enough fat in my diet.  i also recently started drinking green tea (1 month or so ago) because i hate the way regular tea stains teeth, which doesn't seem to be doing my skin any harm either!

I may be going off on an irrelevant tangent, because you seem to be looking at this from a bio-chemical standpoint, personaltrainer, but: perhaps insomnia and sugar cravings are only related because the stress that causes the insomnia also causes the urge to eat sugar? 

I have insomnia and sugar cravings but never thought the two were connected. I think sugar gives you a sense of quick energy so maybe because your body is so tired you turn to this.Are you eating enough in general and at a healthy weight? Both of those things can interfere with sleep and skin

I get sugar cravings from being even a little tired or stressed. I have occasional insomnia--have since I was your age--and I've tried various remedies.

Since your insomnia is being caused by personal stress, my advice is to work on stress relief strategies, including exercise, deep breathing, yoga, visualization, affirmations and eating foods that are high in L-tryptophan, like turkey and bananas. Consider counseling or therapy, too.

This is not a fast cure, as you might find with a pharmaceutical or supplement, but it is far more valuable as an aid to living a healthy life. Drugs stop working, but stress relief strategies get better and easier to use (and start working faster, too).

When your body/brain aren't getting their energy stores replenished through sleep, they need to get energy someplace else.  Carbs are the best source of instant energy and I'm sure your lack of sleep is triggering the craving.

I definitely have enough fats in my diet! I like 35% of my calories to come from fats, and I am a huge advocate of fats because when I a higher fat diet, I notice my skin is nicer which makes sense because fats are so good for the skin!

So, I have about 60 grams of fats a day mainly from salmon, oily fish, almonds or brazil nuts, and cold pressed flax and virgin olive oil.

I am a healthy weight, BMI of about 19 which is fine on my body and I usually have very nice skin. I eat about 1800 - 2100 a day and I am usually lightly active, moderately active about half the week. I give my body what it wants when it needs it and am not restricting to stay slim.

I know anxiety from a new course I have just started is contributing, which has fueled erratic eating patterns

Then I started eating some sugar at night, then I didn’t feel like as much sugar/ carbs the next day, so by the end of the day my body had already run out due to not having had them since the night before or the very early morning of that day ( 4 am)

Before my insomnia and night eating of sugar happened I had a large breakfast high in carbohydrates every morning, then a large lunch, an afternoon snack of fruit, and a large dinner so this routine was working well.

Now, some times I automatically wake up early at 4 am and have my carbohydrate full breakfast because my tired body tends to crave carbohydrates at night/ early morning and I figure that I “ will just have an early breakfast” then I won’t eat until lunch, and if it is a late lunch I won’t feel like my usual fruit snack before dinner, so after dinner my body craves the carbohydrates/ sugars again because I have not had them since early that morning!

The only way out of this pattern is to start to have breakfast at the usual time, have my after noon sugar ( fruit) snack, and just eat normally again the way I was before the insomnia and erratic eating started!

If I tackle my problems, and do my course work, and work hard enough each day, then I find I don’t need to think about the things I haven’t done or the fact that I wasted time and didn’t try hard enough in my work

I really dislike meditation, I get bored doing “ nothing” and need to be doing something, although sitting down and reading is a quiet and relaxing thing I enjoy; I need to be doing SOMETHING though, I hate the idea of doing nothing night time when I lay down and rest is the only time I enjoy “ not doing anything”

I think my mind has trouble shutting off, because it is so used to being occupied and I am the type of person who cannot have un finished work or a messy house because I don’t like having things I know I have to do any way, I would rather get things out of the way.

So, by NOT doing certain tasks/ things during the day, it will only fuel my active mind at night, so I need to eliminate reasons that I know tend to make me think/ stress so that I have the best possible chance of being able to stop thinking as much and just shut off my mind at night.

That is the mental work I need to implement, as well as the physiological reasons to do with food I mentioned before.

I think you're right about getting back to your routine.

...and yes, I dimly remember my 20's & 30's that I could not conceive of shutting down my mind and thinking about "nothing"...or watching myself breathe...whatever. Those feelings didn't abate until my mid-40's, but I'm glad they did, since I get so much from morning meditation these days.

I know this is an older post but hopefully you (personaltrainer) will comment again.  I'd love to hear how you are doing and if your insomnia has tapered off.  I am dealing with insomnia right now.  A few years ago I had it bad for 3 months where I didn't sleep at all without taking excessive amounts of nytol.  Toward the end of that 3 months I put myself on a elimination diet (to see what was causing my IBS symptoms) which was not eating ANY sugar, grains, or certain dairy products and the insomnia vanished completely.  About 2 years ago I added oats back in my diet and was still fine.  I even occasionally ate whole grains and sugar and although it made me really bloated I never got the insomnia back.  Now when ever I have even a shred of sugar/grain-type products/or milk/yogurt I can't sleep that night.  It only lasts a night but it is horrible.  When I do fall asleep on my own it takes forever and I always wake up at least once in the middle of the night and wake up again very early in the morning.  Usually 4am-6am.  I want to figure out what is causing this because I can't take not getting the proper sleep.  It is effecting everything in my life.  And it makes me crave the foods I can't physically eat and when I give in and eat them I have an entire night of no sleep.  I know that stress causes insomnia and I worry a lot about things out of my control like my future and the uncertainty of it.  But there is more to it then stress.  I think 90% is from the stomach to brain connection and the role nutrition plays.  When I didn't have insomnia, I was eating low amounts of sugar.  Virtually zero processed and low natural.  I also was eating lots of tuna or ground turkey before bed and now know both are high in tryptophan.  Yet some say to eat a high carb meal to induce sleepiness. 

Does anyone else know anything about food or sugar and insomnia?

I am glad you bumped up my post!

There is definitely a stomach brain connection - even if I eat enough, if I have not eaten as many carbohydrates as usual, then my brain tells me that I need more and that it will affect my sleep. In the past when I HAVE restricted I remember needing to get some fruit or carbs at night one time, so this memory from when I actually was restricting comes back when I don’t eat as many carbs; perhaps a self preservation mechanism?

I have managed to stop eating early in the morning/late at night. It started when I did it once when I had insomnia, as the pain of being awake was overwhelming and I think I wanted the distraction; from then on my body came to crave the pleasant feeling of eating to temporarily distract me from the pain onsomia causes me.

The carbohydrate/sugar and insomnia link is interesting - I have heard another person on this site say they cannot sleep without 50 - 60% carbohydrates, about 250 grams or more for them.

Maybe it is a paradox for other people; eating less carbohydrate seams to help people, while hindering others.

THANKFULLY my insomnia has STOPPED for almost a week - 5 - 7 hours a night, usually 6 for a few days and I feel like a different person!

I slept about 4 - 5 hours (which was a lot for me) then the next day I went and got sleeping pills that you can only get with doctors prescription, and took them for the next few days which has got me into a routine of sleep!

I am determined to sleep for 7 - 8 hours eventually, although 5 - 6 hours feels FANTASTIC compared to how awful I felt on no sleep.


If I eat around 40% carbohydrates I feel good so I definitely need SOME, just not excessive amounts. I am still figuring it out though, so THANKS A LOT for sharing your experience as I will remember it


By the way - I ALSO tend to wake once during the night, and also at 4 - 6 am. I have had a few good days waking at 6 though, but that is only because I have gone to bed quiet ate (10 - 12)

I am so thankful to see a post about insomnia here! I have had insomnia for years off and on, but NEVER seen a connection between high carb/ high sugar foods.  Although alcohol which is basically sugar often makes me wake up in the middle of the night and stay up.

Insomnia for me is triggered by a range of things: stress, emotional issues; working too late (my mind is all wired so that I cant fall asleep at my bed time) poor sleep habits (I need to get to bed by 11; if it gets later than that I often have difficulty falling asleep; but I am usually awake on my own by 6.30-7 am); dinner too late or heavy; more than 1 glass of wine; and caffeine. I never drink caffeine after 5 pm.

I actuallly find that having a cup of milk and a banana usually help me get back to sleep, unless I am sleepless because I have overeaten.

valerian, & hops are excellent for sleep.

also, tryptophan and/or melatonin. (I never took melatonin, the tryptophan killed 2 birds with one stone for me)

could your insomnia be from not enough calories in the day, also ccausing your binges?

double post

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I have also been affected by insomnia on and off for the past few years. A few personal problems triggered it at age 15. I ended up missing class quite a bit. It came back to me last November when I started my new job. Prior that I had no sleeping pattern and basically went to bed and woke up at whatever time I felt like. This job obliges me to get up at 7:30 am which is fine, but the thing is for the past 9 months I am never able to fall asleep before 2am (2am is pretty good). It's so stressful.

I took some pills called Victan apparently for anxiety but they didnt work. When I stopped taking them for the first two weeks I had major panick attacks to the point I couldnt breath. I think pills are really bad for you specially after these after effects....but sometime you're so desperate you take anything into consideration!

I lost 10kg in a short period of time....and fell asleep everywhere specially at work...People were always saying I looked awfully tired...

Now I don't stress too much about it....if im tired...i'll catch up during the weekend. I think i've improved from sleeping 4hours to 5.5/6hours a day.

 Hopefully this phase will go weight has stabalised...although now I'm experiencing major sugar cravings.


Thanks for bumping up the thread!


Funnily enough, even when I was very under weight I could still sleep?

I have worked out likely possible reasons for my insomnia.

Firstly if I am not very active with my body and mind during the day, the way bodies are supposed to be, than I am not as sleepy. Mentally and/pr physically.

Anxiety is another issue. I tend to try to sabotage my own happy ness. Even when things are going GREAT there is a ANNOYING bastard in my mind that tries to keep me awake.

Also, if I do not eat in a way that balances out my proteins/carbohydrate/fat intake…. For instance, when I tried a raw fruit diet for a day (just for an experiment) my body craved protein/salt/ anything other than fruit LOL, therefore I could not sleep as I was dreaming of grilled cheese sandwiches haha.

I have found that:

I like to have a small frozen banana at night just before sleeping. It is not overly taxing on my digestion.

I enjoy having an earlier dinner so my digestion is finished at night, and than having the small banana. Mentally, I just like knowing I am not “ hungry” or I danger of it, so I DO need a small snack before sleep. This has helped with my insomnia.

Insulin...  Fatigue or anxiety can make insulin levels rise.  This causes blood-sugars to drop sharply and that leads to cravings for something to get the blood-sugars back up to normal.... usually sugary/fatty/starchy foods which are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and provide a quick fix of energy.   The trick is to avoid the temptation to eat a lot of these foods and instead keep matching the need for sugar with more 'slow-release' foods... like bananas, wholegrains and othe complex carbohydrates. 

There are lots of reasons why you wouldn't be able to sleep in the first place.  Worrying that you can't sleep can ironically lead to lack of sleep.  And poor sleeping patterns can simply become a bad habit.  So good luck finding ways to relax and switch off. 


Worrying about not being able to sleep/ the anger at my inability to sleep and also the fact that it has become a bad habit (to wake up at 2 - 3 am) all contribute.

I am sleeping enough lately. Maybe not 8 hours, I do not count, but I sleep enough to function normally. I just wake up once a night. Which is much better than every 1 - 2 hours lol. I no longer get sugar cravings either.

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I used to worry a lot about not being able to sleep....ridiculous amounts really...but yeah i've overcome that too. I feel tired, but like you said i can still sort of function....the worst period is like at 4pm....or if this particular guy at work comes and talk to me about work, everytime I feel like i'm gonna fall asleep because of his voice!

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