Young woman experiencing fatigue wondering if falling asleep after eating sugar is a sign of diabetes

Is Falling Asleep After Eating Sugar A Sign of Diabetes?

Written on December 21, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Diabetes is a medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Some people wonder how food can affect their blood sugar levels, and how this may impact energy. Read this article for everything you need to know.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that impacts blood sugar (or glucose) levels.[1] There are two chronic types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. There is also a condition known as prediabetes, in which blood sugar levels are bordering on the edge of diabetes but are not high enough to be considered diabetes. In addition, there is a condition known as gestational diabetes, in which pregnant women become diabetic during pregnancy, but this condition often goes away once the baby is born.[1]

Of the varying types of diabetes, it is often possible to reverse type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the pancreas does not make enough insulin to regulate glucose levels. Type 1 diabetes has no cure and is not caused by dietary or lifestyle factors.[2]

Symptoms Of Diabetes

There are many different symptoms of diabetes including [1]:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of weight without trying (often seen in type 1 diabetes)
  • Ketones in the urine
  • Feelings of tiredness
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased incidence of infection

Some people wonder, is falling asleep after eating sugar a sign of diabetes? The short answer is that it could be. Ultimately, food affects your digestive tract, and different kinds of foods affect digestion differently. Carbs, or sugar, are the macronutrients that affect blood sugar levels. If you consume too much sugar in one sitting, it may lead to a drastic spike and dip in blood sugar and energy levels. So, while spikes and dips in blood sugar aren’t always a sign of diabetes, a dip in blood sugar after consuming carbs could be a sign of diabetes.[3]

In people with diabetes, feeling tired after eating may be a sign of dysregulation of blood sugar levels, either blood sugar that is too high or too low. Because carbs are the body’s primary and easiest fuel source, if blood sugar levels are not optimized in the foods you eat, energy levels can be affected. If the body isn’t using glucose and insulin appropriately, glucose isn’t being shuttled to the cells adequately, which can leave you feeling tired.[3] Hypoglycemia can also occur if someone with type 1 diabetes takes too much insulin, as blood sugar levels can then drop rapidly, leading to feelings of tiredness.

Everlywell HbA1c Test CTA graphic

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Diabetes is diagnosed by getting your glucose and hemoglobin A1C checked. The hemoglobin A1C is the average of your blood sugar levels over three months. It measures the amount of sugar attached to hemoglobin, which are the red blood cells that carry oxygen in the body.[4] A healthcare provider may also order a random blood sugar test, a fasting blood sugar test, or a glucose tolerance test.

To test for type 1 diabetes, a urine test may be used to look for ketones in the urine.[4] Ketones are produced as a byproduct when fats are being used for energy rather than carbs. Healthcare providers can also run a blood test to look for antibodies associated with type 1 diabetes.

How to Balance Blood Sugar

If you are dealing with changes to your energy levels after eating, it may be a sign that you should examine how you are balancing your blood sugar when you eat. Whether you are diabetic or are simply looking to have fewer energy crashes after meals, all people can benefit from appropriately balancing meals and snacks to create balanced blood sugar.

To balance blood sugar, use these tips [5]:

  • Pair carbohydrates with a source of protein and/or fat. Meaning, try not to eat carbs on their own. Rather than just having a banana (carbs), try having a banana with peanut butter (fat/protein).
  • Move your body. Exercising, especially after meals, helps to burn through carbohydrates and bring blood sugar levels back down to a desired level.
  • Be mindful of sugar and carb intake. While sugar and carbs are delicious and needed for energy, take inventory of your meal and snack choices and try to balance them out by adding in some proteins and fats.
  • Add in fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is indigestible and helps to prevent blood sugar spikes that occur due to the digestion of simple carbs. Focus on adding some dietary fiber to your meals with foods like vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains.

Support Your Overall Health With Everlywell

At Everlywell, we combine the best in modernized, rigorous lab testing with easy-to-access at-home medicine. We provide a range of blood tests, including several that you can take from the comfort of your home. Your results will be analyzed in CLIA-certified labs and an experienced healthcare provider will deliver your results. Take control of your overall health today with Everlywell.

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  1. Diabetes - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Published September 15, 2023. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  2. Type 1 diabetes - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Published September 15, 2023. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  3. Schaefer A. Why do I feel tired after eating? Healthline. Published April 18, 2023. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  4. Diabetes - Diagnosis and treatment. Mayo Clinic. Published September 15, 2023. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  5. Rd ASM. 14 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally. Healthline. Published October 30, 2023. Accessed December 13, 2023.

Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT works with a wide variety of individuals, ranging in age from children to the elderly, with an assortment of concerns and clinical conditions. She helps individuals optimize overall health and/or manage disease states using personalized medical nutrition therapy techniques.

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