How eating chocolate can impact your sleep this Easter

Chocolate eggs and easter almonds on bird nest, chocolate bunny and sweets on white wooden table
Chocolate can prevent you from getting a deep sleep. (Getty Images)

Each Easter, Brits consume approximately 80 million chocolate eggs each year – which is at least one per person.

However, while we may think all of this sugar consumption will lull us into a nice chocolate-induced coma, it can actually have negative impacts on our sleep.

"Whilst dark chocolate does have a number of health benefits, most Easter treats are high in fat and sugar, both of which have been linked to disrupted sleep," sleep specialist and sleep counsellor at TEMPUR, Thomas Høegh Reisenhus, says.

"It’s believed that these foods impact deep sleep – the stage that supports repair and restorative functions. Getting enough deep sleep also helps both brain and body prepare to take on new information and adapt to new environments. Not to mention the fact that chocolate contains caffeine – arguably the greatest nemesis of a good night’s sleep."

It’s this caffeine, as well as the sugar and saturated fat content, that can prevent us from getting that restorative sleep our body needs.

To combat this, Høegh Reisenhus suggests prioritising good sleep hygiene that will give you the best chance of having a restorative night’s sleep.

"The ideal sleep environment is dark, cool and quiet, so if you haven’t already it’s worth investing in black out blinds or a comfortable eye mask and ear plugs," Høegh Reisenhus says.

Chocolate Easter Eggs with Colorful Candies over blue background. Greeting card for holidays.
Brits eat approximately 80 million Easter eggs each year. (Getty Images)

"Ensure your bedroom thermostat is no higher than 18°C to keep you at the optimum temperature for sleep. If you struggle with overheating at night, make sure you’re using cotton bedding and pyjamas, which will allow your skin to breathe. Alternatively, if you find yourself waking up due to feeling cold, try layering blankets (that can easily be removed) on top of your duvet."

Høegh Reisenhus adds that there is ‘no reason’ why a sweet treat can’t be part of a healthy lifestyle.

"So long as they are consumed in moderation and balanced out with exercise and a diet that also includes wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and lean proteins," he adds. "As with most things in life – moderation is key."

While chocolate could be disruptive to your sleep – the sweet food also actually contains several health benefits. It has been found to boost everything from serotonin levels, to libido, and even skin health.

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