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Is it true that sugar can make children more active and keep them awake?

By BabySleepAdmin 8 years ago

Debra A. Babcock

Is it true that sugar can make children more active and keep them awake?

Many parents have heard that sugar will make their children overactive. While it is true that sugar provides immediate energy to the body, there is no evidence it will make your child more active and thus keep him awake.

In a landmark article published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 1994, the authors presented the results of a double-blind study showing no changes in behavior or brain function of children given diets with large amounts of sugar. There are other reasons a child may be overactive, such as issues of temperament, emotional disturbances (both brief problems and longer term concerns), true Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and in fact, sleep problems. Being overtired can make children act like they have ADHD as they try to stay awake.

If your child has had a very stimulating day continuing into the evening (sugar or no sugar!), he may have difficulty settling down for bed. A regular routine of pre-sleep activities can help him calm down and know it is time for sleep.

Any concerns you have about your child’s diet and behavior should be discussed with your child’s doctor (or healthcare provider). Sugar alone does not cause overactivity and wakefulness; even so, there are many other good reasons to limit your child’s sugar intake. Sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and cavities.


About Dr. Debra Babcock


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