Sugar high? More like sugar loowwwww
I’ve had the same epiphany about three times in the last three weeks. Okay, okay—by its very definition, it’s probably not actually possible to have a specific epiphany more than once. But roll with me for a second.
About a month ago, I treated myself to two delicious and amazing fresh-baked glazed doughnuts from the neighborhood bakery. I was only mildly hungry and had a sweet tooth I wanted to satisfy post-haste, so I picked up a couple of the famous pastries on my way to a meeting. I ate them both the best way I know how: in the car, by myself, flakes of the glaze falling onto my shirt. Ah, the sweet bliss of indulging in desserts while by oneself.
About twenty to thirty minutes later, I was profoundly tired. Like, I-have-to-take-a-nap-right-now-or-I-may-fall-out tired. Oh my gosh, I thought. The doughnuts! That’s the only real thing that’s different about today. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and I’m not at a point in my monthly cycle where this kind of exhaustion is normal. It has got to be a sugar crash. I mentioned it to my colleague who looked at me with an expression that said one thing: Duh. By that night, I had a migraine, but I willfully decided it wasn’t related to the sugar intake. My husband gets migraines when he overindulges in sugary treats so usually avoids sweets, but I have never noticed that pattern in myself—on the same token, I don’t eat sweets too often, so I don’t have a chance to see if this is a pattern with me as well.
It happened again in a milder fashion last week, and I had the same revelation again. It’s the sudden intake of sugar that’s making me so sleepy, I thought, swearing not to do that again when I couldn’t afford a lazy afternoon. I ended up with a migraine the next day, but I’ve been having so many lately that I can’t rightfully connect it to the sugar. But still, it got me thinking.
Well, I am apparently not someone who learns her lessons very well. I’m writing this on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Normally I work the opening shift at the bookshop each Saturday, but due to my employees’ travel schedules this weekend, we switched some things around and I’ll be working a rare evening shift. I headed to a local coffee shop to do some online bill paying, travel reservations, and the like, and could not resist the beckoning of an extra-large Rice Krispie treat for sale in the pastry case. Someone with more self-control could’ve skipped the purchase or, if she couldn’t have resisted buying it, could have taken small bites over the course of her coffee shop time. Not I! I wanted that deliciousness, and I wanted it right away. I scarfed the whole thing down in two minutes tops and kept working on my laptop. Then, about 25 minutes later, I was overtaken with profound fatigue. My eyes feel dry and sleepy, and I want to go home to nap. I won’t do that for a variety of reasons, but suffice it to say I can’t ignore this connection between massive sugar intake and the tiredness that sets in not long after. I’m keeping my fingers crossed there’ll be no migraine in my near future, though I’m getting a little nervous as I consider the other potential factors at play: the sky is graying as we speak and the wind is kicking up, and we know that those are signs of changing barometric pressure, a major trigger for many of us. And I am under a lot of stress right now and will likely not have regular meals today—I had breakfast, then a tiny snack for lunch, then this Rice Krispie treat, and tonight dinner will come after I’m finished with work around nine o’clock.
How many of you have seen any connection between sugar intake and your energy (or lack thereof)? Lots of migraine.com community members list sugar substitute (including aspartame) as a migraine trigger—I’m among them. But this sensitivity to sugar seems relatively new to me, and I wonder if this addictive sweetness will end up emerging as a migraine trigger for me. What are your thoughts?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?