How can glucose (blood sugar) levels affect your general wellbeing?

How can glucose (blood sugar) levels affect your general wellbeing?
  • Stable glucose levels are critical for maintaining overall health, influencing energy levels, mood, cognitive function, and sleep quality, even in individuals without diabetes. 
  • Poorly managed glucose levels lead to significant short-term effects including increased hunger and cravings, diminished energy and focus, mood disturbances, and disrupted sleep patterns, which can impact daily wellbeing. 

  • A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can empower you to track your glucose levels directly on your smartphone, facilitating informed decisions about lifestyle habits that can optimize your overall health and wellbeing.  

In the journey towards optimal health and vitality, more and more research points towards the importance of stable glucose and the benefits of monitoring your glucose levels. (1) While traditionally associated with diabetes management, monitoring glucose has proven health benefits, even for those who have not been diagnosed with the condition. Understanding and regulating glucose levels can profoundly impact overall wellbeing, influencing hunger, energy levels, mood, sleep patterns, and more. (1)

In this article, we’ll dive into the connection between glucose and wellbeing and explore how maintaining steady glucose impacts your quality of life. We’ll also shed light on how a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can empower you to make informed decisions about your lifestyle habits and help you establish healthier behavior change to better your overall wellbeing.

Why your glucose levels matter, even without diabetes

Glucose serves as the primary source of energy for the body’s cells. Even if a diet contains zero carbohydrates, the body will produce its own glucose to maintain a steady stream in the blood. (2) Maintaining stable glucose levels is crucial for sustained energy, mood regulation, cognitive function, and overall wellbeing. (1)

Of the three macronutrients — carbohydrates, protein, and fat — carbohydrates are what affect glucose levels the most. While different carbohydrates have different effects, a glucose spike will typically happen after eating a carb-heavy meal, especially if the carbohydrates are mostly simple carbs (e.g., white bread, pasta, sweets) or eaten alone (e.g., without a source of protein or fat). While a modest increase in glucose after a meal is normal, it’s the large rises and crashes that cause problems.

Additionally, high-intensity exercise can cause a glucose spike because it increases hormones that release glucose into the system to fuel the activity. (3) While this quick influx of fuel can spike your glucose, it is not something to be concerned about as the spike has a purpose: to fuel the activity and tends to normalize after the activity is stopped. 

In addition to diet and exercise, stress and sleep play a significant role in glucose regulation. (4, 5) Chronic stress can lead to increased glucose as the body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which stimulates glucose release into the bloodstream. Poor sleep quality or inadequate sleep duration can disrupt glucose metabolism, contributing to fluctuations in glucose levels. (4)

While many are aware that poorly managed glucose levels can lead to long-term complications such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes (1, 6), the short-term effects are a little less known but still significant. Large fluctuations in glucose as well as frequent glucose spikes can have a profound impact on day-to-day life impacting things like hunger and cravings, energy, mood, focus, sleep, and skin health. (1, 7) 

The connection between glucose and your wellbeing 

Many people are unaware that some of the symptoms they experience on a daily basis may be related to their glucose levels. Craving sweets in the afternoon, losing focus after lunch, feeling irritable during a meeting, or experiencing poor quality sleep can all be effects of poorly managed glucose. Let’s explore how glucose can have an impact on daily wellbeing: 

  • Increased hunger and cravings: Research indicates that glucose spikes, followed by a crash, can intensify hunger and subsequent cravings for food. (8) Conversely, when glucose remains steady, there tends to be less interest in food and fewer cravings. (9) The cycle of increased hunger and cravings can disrupt daily activities, leading to erratic eating patterns and potential weight gain. (10)

  • Less energy and focus (more fatigue): A study that looked at both mood and energy levels found that individuals following a high-glycemic load (high GL) diet, characterized by its tendency to induce erratic blood glucose patterns, reported experiencing more fatigue compared to those adhering to a low glycemic load diet (low GL), known for promoting steadier glucose levels. (11)

Fluctuations in glucose levels can significantly impact energy levels and cognitive function. Following a spike in glucose, there is often a subsequent crash, leaving individuals feeling fatigued and moody. (11) This rollercoaster effect not only impairs productivity and focus, (12) but also hampers overall energy levels, (13) making it challenging to sustain optimal performance throughout the day.

  • Poor moods: The same study found that individuals following the high GL diet saw a 38% higher score in depressive symptoms and 55% higher score in total mood disturbances than those following a low GL diet. (11)

Glucose levels play a crucial role in regulating mood, with fluctuations often leading to mood swings and irritability. Recent research is pointing towards direct effects of both glucose levels and insulin and their effects on depression and mood. (14, 15) High and low blood glucose as well as higher than normal insulin levels can negatively impact your mood while steady glucose has been shown to have positive effects. (1, 11, 14, 15)

  • Low quality sleep: Poorly managed glucose levels can disrupt sleep quality, leading to difficulties falling asleep, frequent awakenings during the night, and overall restless sleep. (16, 17) Poor sleep quality can disrupt essential restorative processes that can further impact mood, cognitive performance, and physical health

Additionally, studies have found that not only do steady glucose levels help improve sleep quality but better sleep also helps improve glucose levels. Keeping your glucose steady may result in better sleep (18) and a good night’s sleep may also help keep your glucose steady. (4)

  • Poor skin health: Glucose levels can also affect skin health, contributing to issues such as increased acne breakouts and skin inflammation. Fluctuations in blood glucose can stimulate the production of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and lead to acne. (7)

Additionally, elevated glucose can promote inflammation, exacerbating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. (19) This added burden of skin issues can further affect self-esteem and overall wellbeing.  

Persistent fluctuations in glucose levels not only disrupt your body’s natural rhythm, but also contribute to a cascade of symptoms that can significantly diminish your quality of life. Recognizing and addressing these interconnected factors is essential for taking control of your health and finding equilibrium in your daily life. 

Getting to know your body’s responses

To cultivate a deeper awareness of your body’s glucose levels and optimize your wellbeing, there are several strategies you can implement. Firstly, maintaining a balanced diet rich in whole foods, protein, and fiber while minimizing refined sugars and processed carbohydrates can help stabilize glucose. Regular physical activity is also crucial, as exercise can enhance insulin sensitivity and promote glucose regulation

Furthermore, paying attention to how different foods and lifestyle factors impact your energy levels, mood, hunger cues, and sleep can provide valuable insights into your body’s responses to glucose fluctuations. Keeping a food diary and tracking symptoms can help identify patterns and find the foods and lifestyle habits that help stabilize glucose. 

Using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can give even greater understanding of your own glucose patterns and support proactive changes to your daily habits that can help support steady glucose. Gaining access to insights on how your food choices and daily habits affect your glucose can allow you to make informed decisions about your diet, physical activity, stress management, and sleep to help you better optimize your overall wellbeing.  

A final note from Lingo   

Paying attention to how your food choices and other lifestyle factors impact your energy, mood, cravings, and sleep can help you gain clarity into what might be impacting your glucose patterns the most.

Using a CGM like Lingo offers personalized insights into these glucose responses, empowering you to make lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life and overall wellbeing.

With increasingly more research pointing towards the importance of steady glucose for short-term and long-term health, integrating healthier strategies into your lifestyle can help cultivate a deeper connection with your body and foster greater balance and overall health.


  1. Jarvis PRE, et al. Continuous glucose monitoring in a healthy population: understanding the post-prandial glycemic response in individuals without diabetes mellitus. Metabolism. 2023 Sep;146:155640. 

  2. Melkonian EA, et al. Physiology, Gluconeogenesis. [Updated 2023 Nov 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:

  3. Adams OP. The impact of brief high-intensity exercise on blood glucose levels. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2013;6:113-22.

  4. Tsereteli N, et al. Impact of insufficient sleep on dysregulated blood glucose control under standardised meal conditions. Diabetologia. 2022 Feb;65(2):356-365.

  5. Harrell CS, et al. Energetic stress: The reciprocal relationship between energy availability and the stress response. Physiol Behav. 2016 Nov 1;166:43-55.

  6. O'Keefe JH, et al. Dietary strategies for improving post-prandial glucose, lipids, inflammation, and cardiovascular health. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Jan 22;51(3):249-55.

  7. Baldwin H, et al. Effects of Diet on Acne and Its Response to Treatment. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2021 Jan;22(1):55-65. doi: 10.1007/s40257-020-00542-y. Erratum in: Am J Clin Dermatol. 2020 Dec 26;:

  8. Wyatt P, et al. Postprandial glycaemic dips predict appetite and energy intake in healthy individuals. Nat Metab. 2021 Apr;3(4):523-529. doi: 10.1038/s42255-021-00383-x. Epub 2021 Apr 12. Erratum in: Nat Metab. 2021 Jul;3(7):1032.

  9. Page KA, et al. Circulating glucose levels modulate neural control of desire for high-calorie foods in humans. J Clin Invest. 2011 Oct;121(10):4161-9.

  10. Taetzsch A, et al. Food cravings: Associations with dietary intake and metabolic health. Appetite. 2020 Sep 1;152:104711.

  11. Breymeyer KL, et al. Subjective mood and energy levels of healthy weight and overweight/obese healthy adults on high-and low-glycemic load experimental diets. Appetite. 2016 Dec 1;107:253-259.

  12. Nilsson A, et al. Effects of differences in postprandial glycaemia on cognitive functions in healthy middle-aged subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;63(1):113-20.

  13. Owens DS, et al. Blood glucose and subjective energy following cognitive demand. Physiol Behav. 1997 Sep;62(3):471-8.

  14. Penckofer S, et al. Does glycemic variability impact mood and quality of life? Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012 Apr;14(4):303-10.

  15. Lyra E Silva NM, at al. Insulin Resistance as a Shared Pathogenic Mechanism Between Depression and Type 2 Diabetes. Front Psychiatry. 2019 Feb 14;10:57.

  16. Briançon-Marjollet A, et al. The impact of sleep disorders on glucose metabolism: endocrine and molecular mechanisms. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2015 Mar 24;7:25.

  17. Cho Y. Early Development of Bidirectional Associations between Sleep Disturbance and Diabetes. Diabetes Metab J. 2020 Oct;44(5):668-670.

  18. Yoda K, et al. Association between poor glycemic control, impaired sleep quality, and increased arterial thickening in type 2 diabetic patients. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 14;10(4):e0122521.

  19. Hu Y, et al. Metabolic Syndrome and Skin Diseases. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019 Nov 20;10:788.

Metabolic change is possible

Sign up and receive scientifically proven tips, strategies, and insights to supercharge your metabolism.
Email me personalised regular news, content and exclusive offers. I will receive an email from Lingo to confirm my email address. I consent to the use of my personal data for marketing purposes. Please refer to the Lingo Privacy Notice regarding your rights and for additional details.