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And metabolising sugar uses up lots of magnesium, which you need to support levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep.
The truth is, you’re probably eating more sugar than you think. Anything that comes in a packet probably has some hidden in there, whether it’s for taste, as a cheap preservative, or just to keep you hooked.
These tend to be labelled as ‘added sugars’ and include cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and ‘natural’ sweeteners such as honey, agave, maple syrup and fruit juice.
But unless a sugar is bound by fibre (as occurs naturally in fruit and vegetables), there’s no such thing as ‘healthy’ or ‘natural’.
Always check the labels before buying food products, especially condiments, snack bars and drinks, where sugar often lurks.
Why happy hour is the best time for a tipple
Studies have shown that our bodies process alcohol more effectively at certain times of the day.
It turns out they are attuned to Happy Hour, metabolising alcohol best in the early to middle hours of the evening rather than later at night. Certain types of alcohol, such as vodka and gin — without sugary mixers — may also be tolerated better.
The same applies to caffeine, so think about when you decide to drink anything containing it.
When you are feeling tired, what could be more inviting than caffeine? It gives you an almost instant second wind, laser-focuses your mind and potentially helps you burn more calories at the gym. But when it comes to sleep? Total disaster.
That is because caffeine is a stimulant — and the way it revs you up is by blocking the receptors in your brain that recognise the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter [or brain chemical] adenosine.
Adenosine is what builds up in your system during your waking hours, creating sleep pressure or the urge to sleep.
Caffeine basically stops that happening, tricking the brain into believing it’s not tired. But the longer caffeine blocks adenosine, the more it builds up in your system. When the effects of caffeine eventually wear off, all that backlogged adenosine comes rushing back into the brain, making you feel even more tired than before you had that coffee/black tea/energy drink.