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Insomnia and Artificial Sweeteners: What is the Relationship?

Updated on October 25, 2016
In a fog from unexplained lack of sleep?  Take a second look at artificial sweeteners!
In a fog from unexplained lack of sleep? Take a second look at artificial sweeteners! | Source

Could Products Called Sugar Substitutes be the Cause of Insomnia?

Like a charlatan promising a naïve girl all that her heart desires, artificial sweeteners have proven to be much more than they admitted when they flashed into the lives of Americans.

The news on them continues to unfold and we continue to learn about their side effects. Some of the information we've learned since they hit the market is controversial, but more importantly, it is concerning.

Ignoring the warnings may be one of the biggest mistakes Americans are making for their health both long term and short term.

Find the cause, decide to change--avoid insomnia when you can!
Find the cause, decide to change--avoid insomnia when you can! | Source

As if there isn’t already enough information about the detriments of these products to our health, reports about how they can be at the root of insomnia are now being uncloaked by researchers.

Two dear-to-me people suffer from an inability to get the sleep they need and I am always on the lookout for some new information that might help them. Research is fairly easy these days, but we need to think through the reports with caution.

While reading through some of the information on how our sleep can be affected by what we eat it occurred to me that one thing my two friends have in common is that they use artificial sweeteners on a regular basis.

Was it possible, could it be that my friends might find a solution to their problem? The big question for everyone is whether insomnia has a case against artificial sweeteners.

Why no sleep?
Why no sleep? | Source

Ask Valid Questions About the Relationship Between Insomnia and Artificial Sweeteners

• Are Artificial Sweeteners an Unfamiliar Cause of Insomnia?

If you’ve read much of my previous work you know that I like research. Examining an issue by taking the time to search for information that is backed by documentation is like a walk in a nice park to me. When this came up I didn't just want information for my two friends, I wanted the pleasure of “finding out.”

With a few clicks a lot of information is available, but what, if any of it, is worthy? Well, I try to begin with info from organizations that have purposed to help people with specific needs. The Arthritis Foundation or the Macular Degeneration Foundation are good examples of that kind of starting point. This is especially important to me when I don’t have personal experience to base my writing on.

Learn About Monk Fruit Sweetener

First stop was the National Sleep Foundation where I popped the words artificial sweeteners, aspartame, and sweetener into their site’s search box. Checking each one individually yielded the same no results reply, but too many blogs came up when I Googled insomnia and artificial sweeteners together for me to let the initial zero results stop the investigation.

• What was all the buzz on products like Sugar Twin, Necta Sweet and Equal about?

• Could products like Splenda, Nutra-Sweet, and Sweet N' Low interrupt people’s sleep?

Insomnia Induced by Artificial Sweeteners? Check out Safer Alternatives

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A Fruit Flavored Natural Sweetener with SteviaJust Plain SteviaAgave, an All-Natural Sweetener
A Fruit Flavored Natural Sweetener with Stevia
A Fruit Flavored Natural Sweetener with Stevia | Source
Just Plain Stevia
Just Plain Stevia | Source
Agave, an All-Natural Sweetener
Agave, an All-Natural Sweetener | Source

Something in my head told me to keep searching. MedlinePlus offered nothing that I could find on a relationship between trouble sleeping and fake sugars, so I forged onward.

It was interesting to come across a site about the chemical sucralose that also provided information on an FDA page where we can report non-emergency side effects of common products. Evidently, there are a lot of side effects from non-caloric sweetener products to report.

WebMD mentions rejecting artificial sweeteners in an article that briefly focuses on what we already know about lab-produced chemical sweeteners triggering cravings that result in weight gain, but stops short of directly blaming artificial sweeteners for insomnia.

As well, I came across two books linking sleep disorders with sucralose, but I have not read them. If you have done the reading, please leave your perspective in the comments capsule below.

• Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Insomnia, or Don’t They?

After not finding much “official” information on this topic I began reading through various blogs. I've never forgotten that years ago our very fine pediatrician (all of them should be like him) told us he believed that such products would result in a rash of childhood cancers within ten years. That was about 25 years ago.

Do you wonder if your insomnia might be related to artificial sweeteners?

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The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Before I began researching whether insomnia was linked to these sweeteners I knew they could create other health problems, even for diabetics. Evaluating the relationship of insomnia to these products was important because a sensible person has to ask if there enough information to validate the claim.

Among the blog posts giving credence to the question of whether problems with insomnia can be solved when products containing aspartame, saccarine, and sucralose are eliminated from peoples diets, I found comments and information on how those products stimulate the brain.

Reading stories about the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal from artificial sweeteners made me even more grateful for the early warning from that pediatrician. The experience of getting out of one's system is not pleasant.

Naturally, all this reading led me to a new search using terms like “artificial sweeteners brain.” I could have varied the words more and continued the searches but two more sites ended it for me.

One report detailed how the brain becomes excited by the products, indicating that the bloggers instincts were on target. The other was a report that thoroughly outlined the links between cancer and these products.

It's documented.

Artificial sweeteners have adverse effects on the brain.

This guy knows the truth about artificial sweeteners!
This guy knows the truth about artificial sweeteners! | Source

A Conclusion About Whether Artificial Sweeteners Cause Insomnia

• Are there valid questions about whether artificial sweeteners are really safe for diabetics as well as others?

• Why should we question and research their safety?

• Do the artificial sweeteners cause insomnia?

Could the answers be that there isn't yet enough information to be sure? Do I know that all of the reports I read are accurate? Is it possible to be certain about the conclusions? Maybe there is room for more questions, but is there room for risk?

When someone like that pediatrician warns us about sugar substitutes, when I hear of other’s personal experiences that indicate I should pay attention, and when I read a wide variety of reports full of warnings from established sources, I know enough to use common sense, and enough to give my friends a chance to learn more about the concerns.

I know enough to say no to the fake sugars and to find ways to use natural sweeteners like agave, sweet leaf, and honey. Delicious monk fruit is currently my most often used sweetener. Incorporating these healthier substitutes into recipes like peach cobblers and brownies is a better option.

If you have more questions about artificial sweeteners, the information you need to read is out there. Don’t wait, the research is a stimulating experience that is not harmful. It is helpful and important for you and others in your life.

More on Health and Sweeteners:

Do You Suffer from Insomnia Thanks to Artificial Sweeteners?

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    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 6 years ago

      I try to steer clear of artificial sweeteners. I try not to use sugar either. It's not good for the teeth or the system. I have finally been able to cut my sugar in my coffee down to one tsp. This was a real challenge. Great hub here.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Even if they did not keep us awake at night - the horror of what these chemicals do to us is enough to keep us awake by fear.

      Please, let's be healthy once again and responsible for our health. Artificial sweeteners are not about making us healthy they are about profit.

      I have friends with eyesight being destroyed. I remember reading about diet sodas affecting the eyes. I passed that info on and every single person was drinking diet sods. Once they stopped - eyesight improved. How can toxic chemicals ever be food for our health?

      By the way once you get rid of the chemicals there are totally natural ways to fight insomnia. I wrote a hub about lettuce tea and how it can gently put you to sleep. I found the info in a 40 year old herbal book - but recently I have come across a lot more info about lettuce tea and its sedative benefits. I tried it - it works. I used organic romaine. We need our sleep!

      Thanks for a very important hub! Yay - and rated up of course!

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      I use artificial sweeteners in my coffee everyday. I do suffer from insomnia but I blame it on my 5 years work-at-night experience and my husband's crazy work schedule. (he gets up at 1:30 AM to get ready for work, and I'm always awake knowing the alarm clock is going to go off!) Also, did you know that menopause is one of the causes of insomnia?

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      Saying no to sweeteners isn't always easy, but it is important. Thanks much for stopping in with your input!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      BK Creative:

      You are absolutely right. NCI's information on cancer and artificial sweeteners is enough give a person nightmares. Neither the sides effects nor the withdrawal symptoms are pleasant, but people don't realize that the stuff is harmful and addictive.

      Thanks for the heads up about your insomnia info. Appreciate that you came by with your input.

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