Whether you’re eating your leftover candy, sneaking some from your kid’s Halloween stash, or have your own stash of treats you’re saving to munch on, it’s hard to say no to the sweet stuff this time of year. While it’s a nice snack or movie dessert, eating too many sweets too close to bedtime can harm your sleep and make it difficult to fall asleep.

A rush of energy when you should be relaxing is counterproductive to a good night’s rest, which can leave you feeling groggy or unrefreshed the morning after.

If you (or your kids) have indulged in your fair share of Halloween candy, caramel apples, and pumpkin bread this holiday, here are some tips and tricks to help encourage sleepiness during a sugar rush.

For more help with falling asleep, here six ways to fall asleep faster and how to deal with anxiety at night.

Why sugar affects sleep

A 2019 survey conducted by the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that those who ate high amounts of sugar experienced anxiety and less deep sleep at night. The sugar and high-fructose corn syrup found in candy can also raise blood sugar levels significantly, giving you a sort of energy rush that makes it harder to drift off to sleep.

So can sugar slow down your body’s natural production of melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in your sleep-wake cycle and promotes sleepiness. As a result, your late-night sweet tooth can be a major disruption to you or your child’s bedtime.

How to sleep after too much sugar

Eat protein with sweets

When you have a sweet tooth, pair your sweets with a protein side dish to offset the sugar rush. Eating protein it can help your body produce more orexin, a hormone that regulates appetite and sleep, and help counteract blood sugar spikes.

Take a warm bath

A person who takes a shower while reading, a good sleeping habit

Taking a warm bath before bed can help you sleep better.

Stephen Errico/Getty Images

Your core temperature naturally drops during the early stages of sleep. For the body, this drop in temperature is a signal to rest. Taking a warm bath and an hour and a half before bedtime can help trigger your thermoregulation system, encouraging more blood circulation from the core to the arms and legs. This helps lower your body temperature and remove body heat, helping to signal your body that it’s time for bed. It’s also good advice for parents trying to stop their little monsters from bouncing off the walls.

Try a natural sleep aid

Natural sleep aids like herbal tea, CBD oil, and essential oils promote relaxation and can help you relax so you feel more prepared to get ready for bed.

Optimize your home and bedroom for sleep

The environment in your home can have an impact on the quality of your sleep, so make sure your environment works with you to help you sleep better:

  • Dim or dim the lights in your home to make it darker and signal your body that it’s time for bed. Our circadian rhythm is heavily influenced by light and dark, and your body will produce more melatonin in low light conditions.
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress you actually look forward to getting on and tucking in. The firmness profile should suit your sleeping position and the construction should suit your body type.
  • Stay away from electronic devices an hour and a half before bedtime. Technology like your TV, laptop, and phone let in blue light, which can slow your body’s production of melatonin.

If you usually have trouble sleeping, with or without sugar, check out our article that lists 27 tips for better sleep and the best yoga poses to try before bed.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.