Should you change your diet after a poor night's sleep?

food, should you change your diet after a poor night's sleep?

Your body might crave sugar (Picture: Getty /

We all know that if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, the next day, it’s game over.

It’s hard to concentrate, you’re yawning all day and, weirdly, you’re prone to eating less nutritious meals if you’re tired.

According to Signe Svanfeldt, lead nutritionist at the healthy eating app Lifesum, a lack of sleeps impacts the regulation of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which are the ones that make us hungry and feel full.

‘Some studies have shown that with a lack of sleep, the hunger hormone ghrelin increases, while leptin, the hormone that makes you full, decreases,’ she tells

She adds that not getting enough sleep also impacts our food choices.

‘It is therefore important to eat nutritious foods in line with your individual needs,’ she says.

After a bad night’s sleep, most people will crave sugar and fatty foods like chocolate and cookies, while others will be tempted to go overboard on coffee in an attempt to spike their energy levels.

‘Both of these paths are quite the opposite of what our body actually requires after a bad night’s sleep,’ says Signe.

food, should you change your diet after a poor night's sleep?

Losing out on sleep may leave you craving cake for breakfast (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Sugary foods lead to blood sugar spikes and will not give us long lasting energy.

‘In fact, it could actually create the opposite effect, making us feel even more tired.’

Likewise, she says, a few cups of coffee might sound tempting, but too much caffeine can lead to unwanted symptoms like nausea and headaches, so try not to overdo it.

Instead, Signe says that for optimal wellbeing, ‘our body needs nutritious fuel in order to get the energy and nutrients required for all of its regular functions.’

After a bad night’s sleep be sure to eat balanced meals that are rich in fibre, protein and healthy fats and stay properly hydrated by drinking lots of water (at least two litres per day).

‘It can also help to ensure that you eat regular meals when feeling extra tired from a bad night’s sleep,’ adds Signe.

How to eat after a bad night’s sleep

  • Ignore your sugar cravings
  • Opt for balanced meals rich in protein, fibre and healthy fats
  • Only drink your usual amount of caffeine
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat regular meals

‘If you’re unsure if your meals provide adequate amounts of nutrients, track them with a tool like the Lifesum app and you’ll see how well they meet your individual needs,’ she continues.

‘You can also use Lifesum’s water tracker to ensure that you stay hydrated and provide your body with enough water throughout the day.’

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