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Is there a link between artificial sweeteners and insomnia?

We recently came across this blog post from Andrea McLarty about a potential link between Splenda and insomnia.

We have to admit, we'd never heard of this connection before, but after doing a little research we've read a number of stories from people claiming they are sleeping better after removing Splenda and other artificial sweeteners from their diets.

Do you have any experience of this? Perhaps the artificial additives in our diets are contributing to the increasing prevalence of sleep disorders - it's just another avenue we should all explore, and something we hope to do when our online community launches.

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Last updated: April 30, 2010

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

Leave a Comment

  • Thomas Didymas
    March 21, 2016, 12:10 pm

    I’ve discovered sucralose is the insomnia issue for me. I was sleeping less and less the more things I ate with sucralose. I finally eliminated it from my diet a few days ago, and now I am sleeping more than I had in over 6 months. I was taking whey protein powder and drinking sparkling water, both sweetened with sucralose. The final 2 months before my discovery, I was sleeping between 2-4 hours nightly. I eliminated everything except organic foods, and finally the sucralose sweetened products, so now I am certain that it was the sucralose.

  • Anthony
    May 18, 2015, 3:56 pm

    I’m almost certain that artificial sweeteners play a role in my periodic bouts of insomnia. I am posting here because I slept very little last night, and remember today that I had a large slice of key lime pie at a family dinner yesterday. My mind was racing and I was tossing and turning. Warm milk did not help. Like Caitlin, I would agree that it’s probably just a small segment of the population that is affected in this way by artificial sweeteners, but I must be one of them. I also believe they trigger migraines in my case.

    Luckily I don’t really have a sweet tooth, so its not hard for me to give up the sweeteners. However, sometimes I just forget.

    In any case, I’d bet a dollar to a donut that pie was sweetened artificially.

    • Martin Reed
      May 18, 2015, 6:00 pm

      You’re probably right, Anthony. Having said that, it’s worth bearing in mind that even ‘real’ sugar is a stimulant – so even if you had an all natural key lime pie close to bedtime, you’d still be likely to experience some form of sleep disruption.

  • Caitlin Jensen
    January 20, 2015, 6:01 am

    The only nights that I get insomnia, are those that happen after having artificial sweeteners. This is a direct correlation. It might not effect others the same way, but it does for me.

    • Martin Reed
      January 20, 2015, 4:43 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Caitlin. Is there a particular type of artificial sweetener that tends to harm your sleep?

  • Martin Reed
    December 8, 2009, 10:46 am

    Thanks for sharing, Mark – I wonder if we’re onto something here?

  • Mark C
    December 8, 2009, 10:24 am

    Interesting to read this – wrote something very similar recently here:

    I’m still sweetener free and back to sleeping like a baby.

  • Martin Reed
    December 7, 2009, 2:04 pm

    Kik – This story was news too us, too! I think I remember reading that it takes around 2 weeks for people to break a habit – so give it a try, count down the days and let us know how it goes!

    Drea – Thanks for your contribution and support for Kik (and for writing your article!). It’s wonderful to hear that such a simple lifestyle change has resulted in a dramatic improvement in your sleep.

  • Drea McLarty
    December 5, 2009, 8:54 am

    Kik, It will be easier to give up than you think. I love the stuff! But here is the thing. I have not slept in 5 years. I contributed it to stress, children, etc. Then it got worse and worse and I cut everything out like caffiene, sugar, noise, etc. It still got worse. I was probably eating about 25 or more packets of Splenda a day. I quit cold turkey. Night one: 11 hours of sleep! The following week I have slept every single night! My lowest hour sleep 6 hours and my second highest 9 hours!!!! Nothing is as sweet as sleep. It is worth a try!

  • Kik
    December 4, 2009, 1:01 pm

    And here’s me drinking a caffeine free diet coke at 6pm for fear of not being able to sleep tonight.
    No fizzy pop, no low fat yogurt no gin and slimline tonic…excuse me a second, I think there’s something in my eye, sniff…