Sleepy After Eating Sweets

If you frequently get sleepy after eating food it could be a sign that you have hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is not a disease but typically a symptom of another existing health problem. If you get hypoglycemia, especially after eating sweets or starchy foods, it’s important to meet with your health care provider to discover the root cause.

A close-up of a woman eating a spoonful of pie. (Image: victorass88/iStock/Getty Images)

Sugar

Most people understand that too much sugar is bad for them. However, many types of foods contain added sugar, especially processed foods and beverages. Even if you try to limit your daily intake of sugar, you might end up getting more than the recommended amount, depending on what you eat, according to MayoClinic.com. When you consume an abundance of sugar, you might feel an instant surge of energy, but the surge is fleeting and is usually followed by a crash. HealthGuidance.org explains that this is because blood sugar levels increase rapidly, but then the body automatically reacts to high levels of sugar by releasing insulin from the pancreas. This results in a sudden decrease in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling very lethargic and sleepy. You may also crave sweets as your body tries to regain blood sugar level balance again.

Diabetes

If you’re diabetic, you may especially experience sleepiness after eating sweets if you’re on medication such as insulin. Work with your health care provider to determine whether or not you should eat sweets and how you can reduce the risk for hypoglycemia caused by medications. A structured diet and exercise program can help you regulate blood sugar levels if you’re a diabetic. Other lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol intake, can also help regulate blood glucose.

Hypoglycemia

You can experience hypoglycemia without having diabetes, and you may especially notice symptoms such as sleepiness after eating simple carbohydrate-based foods, such as candy or cakes. Some people have problems with their blood sugar levels in that naturally occurring insulin released in the body after eating sweets suddenly causes a very low drop in blood glucose, which causes symptoms such as fatigue, shakiness, dizziness, nervousness, sweating and confusion. Two kinds of hypoglycemia can occur -- reactive hypoglycemia, which happens a few hours after meals, and fasting hypoglycemia, which is related to other or unknown health issues that may be occurring, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

Medical Care

If you notice you’re fatigued after eating certain foods, make an appointment with your health care provider and get your blood glucose levels tested. It’s important to find the root cause of blood sugar problems. Causes of hypoglycemia are varied and can include excessive alcohol consumption, tumors and endocrine deficiencies, according to MayoClinic.com.

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