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Is a Spoonful of Sugar Before Bed the Key to a Great Night’s Sleep?

Or is it just a Rip Van Winkle meets Mary Poppins fever dream?

Nutritionist-to-the-stars Philip Goglia caused quite a stir on TikTok recently when he offered the suggestion that we should consume 100 calories of sugar from any source before we go to bed in order to effectuate the soundest sleep of our lives. Which, of course, has resulted in many people rushing to try his suspiciously simple remedy for sleeplessness. Equally suspiciously, Goglia recommended supplements from his Split Nutrition company as being viable solutions for fulfilling his proffered 100-calorie sugar requirement.

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I get it, you’re skeptical. But will this actually help me fall asleep more soundly?

Possibly. There is some evidence that suggests sugar intake may cause people to fall asleep more quickly. There is also counter evidence indicating that consuming sugar may simultaneously diminish the quality of your sleep. Apparently because sugar is a carbohydrate, it helps to elevate your tryptophan levels, which makes you sleepy, and it also suppresses orexin levels, which would cause you to remain alert. 

You can think of it in terms of the sugar crash that you might feel if you binged on cupcakes and then passed out watching TV afterwards, except the event is timed, and the sugary calories are limited to a hundred, so as not to cause your liver to be overrun with sugar right before bedtime.

So will this help me to sleep more soundly?

Probably not.

How come?!?!

Because none of us can presume that what works for elite-level athletes (a la Goglia’s clients) will be similarly beneficial to us. In fact, it’s more likely than not that attempting to emulate something an elite athlete does without being able to replicate everything that elite athlete does will lead us straight to disaster

Each moment of a professional athlete’s day is mapped out, along with every morsel of their diet. When Goglia is prescribing 100 calories of sugar to any variety of endurance athlete or another high-profile celebrity under his care, he’s doing so with a concrete understanding of that person’s training regimen, resting schedule, dietary habits, supplementation plan and medical history. In a setting like that, when Goglia recommends the consumption of 100 calories of sugar just prior to bedtime, you can bet that he’s aware that nothing else going on in that person’s training regimen, nutrition plan or lifestyle is going to interfere with the ability of that sugar to zonk them out.

In your specific case, Goglia doesn’t know if you’re among the one in five Americans who’s regularly taking a mental-health medication. He also doesn’t know if you’re among the one in two Americans who consumes more than 300 milligrams of caffeine daily. While we’re at it, he doesn’t even know if you’re one of the four in 10 Americans who suffer from some form of straight-up insomnia

He also doesn’t know if you can be counted among the one in three Americans who already suffers from a nocturnal eating disorder, which can include those who eat too much food — or too many sweets — right before they go to bed. 

In other words, if you think downing an additional 100 sugary calories before bedtime after you’ve already consumed three fully-loaded Monster Energy drinks is going to do you any favors, I’ve got a bunch of swampy acreage in Florida to sell you.

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