What To Eat When Your Tired & Craving Sugar – Motherhood Mondays (2)

What To Eat When Your Tired & Craving Sugar – Motherhood Mondays (2)

Hey you!

We’ve all had those long nights, where neither you or your little one got any sleep, AT ALL. It’s inevitable. Somehow, we get through the day though and manage to keep cracking on and that’s what I love about mothers.

However, I don’t know about you, but as soon as the day starts after very little sleep, I crave sugar. Even if it’s 6am and we’ve been up for 3 hours, if there is a cookie, muffin or bar lying around I instantly devour it. It’s something I’m working really hard to try and do less.

But, Why do we do it?

“We found sleep restriction boosts a signal that may increase … the pleasure and satisfaction gained from eating.”

A very interesting study made sense of it:


Researchers from the University of Chicago recruited healthy volunteers to take part in a study that consisted of two four-night stays at the university. On the first stay, the participants slept around 7.5 hours each night. The second time they stayed, they were only allowed to sleep around 4.2 hours each night. The researchers fed the participants identical meals at 9am, 2pm and 7pm on both stays. Then they measured the volunteers endocannibinoid levels – hormones similar to those found in cannabis (marijuana) – that make eating more enjoyable.

After sleeping normal amounts, those hormone levels were low in the morning, peaked in the early afternoon, then dropped down. But when the participants were sleep restricted, it was a whole other story. Those levels rose 33 per cent higher, and were high from 2pm through till 9pm.

In other words, sleep deprivation pretty much gave the volunteers the ‘munchies’. And while their hormone levels were all messed up, the participants also ate differently. When exhausted, they were more likely to indulge in fatty, sugary options, like cookies and chips. They were most likely to do this when their endocannibinoid levels were highest – from 2pm-9pm. So there it is – thank you Stuff.co for sharing thid experiment with me!

What can we do to help?


Before you do anything else or attend to your cravings, drink a pint of water or make a herbal tea.

Up your protein on that day:

Make a conscious effort to add more protein in your day. When I know I’m feeling like this, I’ll have 2 eggs on sourdough or rye bread and some spinach (or avo if I have any).

Veggie Packed lunch:

For lunch, I try and get as much veggie and protein in as possible, so leafy greens, sweet potato, tomato, roast any veg lying about in miso paste and top it with nuts and seeds. This is an ultimate pleaser and gets me through until dinner time.


Sometimes the last thing you want to do (especially when your hair in unwashed and your black bags are popping out), but going out with Shay on a walk, even if it’s for 10 minutes, literally saves me. Fresh air is a healer, it allows you to breathe and gets endorphins flowing through your body. Tag me at @madeleine_shaw_ when your outside getting fresh air with your little one, it makes me super happy.

Eat What You Love For dinner:

I’ll normally cook for all of us and try and sit down and eat together before Shays bedtime. This is normally a warming curry, or a salmon bake. I find eating my favourite things at dinner I go to bed feeling satisfied and happy and always improves my sleep.
If you want some inspiration for a healthy dinner when your knackered here are some of my GO-TO’s:

Tray baked salmon
Mushroom Edamame Risotto
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
Cauliflower beetroot bowl and eggs

The reason I haven’t mentioned any snacks, is because I find once I start snacking, I can’t stop. However if you are burning a lot of energy during the day or you fit in a workout, snacks are needed.
Some snacks I rely on are:

Apple and almond butter, Rice cakes and almond butter Breakfast Muffins, Medjool dates topped with any nut butter, Coconut and apricot bars and Gluten Free Beetroot Bread

I hope this helped and I look forward to seeing you next week.

All my love,


Follow me on Instagram @madeleine_shaw_