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Is Falling Asleep After Eating a Sign of Diabetes?

May 23, 2023
June 8, 2023

If you get sleepy after a meal, diabetes is only one possible reason why. Here’s what you need to know. 

Reviewed by Virta Medical Affairs

Richard used to feel tired all the time… especially after eating. Call it the Type 2 post-dinner crash.

“It got to the point where I’d fall asleep immediately in my armchair [after meals],” Richard remembers, before 7 months on the Virta program helped him break his carb cycle and reclaim new stores of energy. “I have so much extra energy now, I have trouble falling asleep sometimes,” he laughs.

If you’re always tired after eating, diabetes is just one possible reason why. Here’s what you need to know about the link between fatigue after eating and diabetes.

Why do I get sleepy after eating?

Your diet and lifestyle are the most likely culprit if you’re constantly asking yourself: “Why do I fall asleep after I eat? Could I have diabetes?”

Yes, fatigue after eating is a possible symptom of diabetes. But it’s also a sign of a poor diet in general. Whether you have diabetes or not, high blood sugar can make you sleepy, because when your blood sugar crashes, you end up feeling fatigued and sluggish.

One solution to try is to limit your intake of sugary and high carb foods like bread, pasta, rice, ice cream, and more. If you need inspiration, the Virta app has hundreds of easy-to-make recipes you can try.

Lifestyle is also a factor. Although in the short term exercise can leave you feeling tired, in the medium- to long-term it has been shown to improve sleep and energy levels. In addition, your sleep habits themselves can lead to fatigue throughout the day. The CDC has a list of things you can try to improve your sleep quality here.

When to worry fatigue after eating is because of diabetes

So when should you worry that your fatigue after eating is because of diabetes?

When people with type 2 diabetes get sleepy after eating, it’s often because of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). They also often experience other symptoms, which can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent urination, particularly at night
  • Intense thirst
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Sores or cuts that are slow to heal
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Very dry skin
  • More infections than usual

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your primary care provider. They can run blood tests to determine if you have diabetes.

The Takeaway

Is falling asleep after eating sugar a sign of diabetes? 

It can be! The best way to know for sure is to ask your doctor. If you are falling asleep after eating because of diabetes, Virta Health can help. By making healthy lifestyle changes in a medical setting with supportive resources like 1:1 virtual coaching, you can regain control of your health, restore your energy levels and feel like yourself again. 

See if you’re eligible for Virta Health here.

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