Sleep and weight loss are inextricably linked. If you can't sleep well, you can't lose weight well. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, getting enough sleep every night is a crucial part of your overall health routine, and it can also help you wake up more energetic and focused each morning.
Yet many people don't realize that if you wake up hungry in the middle of the night, your body may be trying to tell you something important about your diet! Here are some ways to recognize when this may be happening—and what you can do about it!
6 Reasons You're Waking Up Hungry
#1. You've Changed Up Your Workout
A new workout regime can be a great way to switch up your routine and get results. However, it's important to listen to your body during these times of change. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night starving, there could be a few different reasons for this. Maybe you're not eating enough during the day or working out too hard and burning more calories than you're taking in.
#2. Night Eating Syndrome (NES)
Night eating syndrome is a real thing, and it can be caused by stress, hormones, or even certain medications.
Other causes could be sleep apnea, depression, diabetes or just not getting enough sleep. There are many reasons why people wake up starving in the middle of the night, but they all have one thing in common - they're generally not good!
It's also possible that you're waking up because your sleep hygiene is off, which can lead to the phenomenon known as a night-eating syndrome (NES). NES is a condition where people experience intense hunger at night because they have trouble falling asleep. People with NES eat excessive food when they wake up in the middle of the night; they typically don't feel satisfied until they've eaten between 500-1000 cals. A lack of quality sleep can cause NES due to disrupted hunger hormones like ghrelin, leptin, and peptide.
#3. You Eat Large Meals Too Close to Bedtime
One of the reasons you may wake up feeling famished in the middle of the night is because you ate a large meal too close to bedtime. This can cause indigestion and disrupt your sleep. To avoid this:
- Try to eat your last meal at least three hours before bed.
2. If hunger pangs persist, take a cup of chamomile tea before bed or eat some fruit.
3. Sleep hygiene practices such as staying away from electronics an hour before bed can also help you stay asleep all night long without waking up hungry in the middle of the night.
#4. Needing Water At Night
If you need water at night, it could be your body's way of telling you that you're dehydrated. Dehydration can cause several issues, including headaches, fatigue, and even muscle cramps. If you're not drinking enough water during the day, your body will try to make up for it at night. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods with high water content.
#5. Too Much Salt During Day
A high sodium diet can cause you to wake up feeling hungry at night. Your body is telling you that you must cut back on the salt. If you reach for a midnight snack more than once a week, it's time to take a closer look at your diet.
#6. Not Enough Movement Or Exercise Throughout Day
One of the common reasons people wake up feeling famished is that they don't move enough during the day. If you have a sedentary job or lifestyle, it's essential to make a concerted effort to get some exercise in.
Even just walking around the block can help increase your metabolism and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Try incorporating 10 minutes of light physical activity (such as stretching) into your daily routine.
You might also want to look at how much sugar you consume throughout the day. Having too many sugary foods can cause surges in blood sugar levels which will leave you feeling hungry later on.
Four Effective Foods To Eat For Mid-Night Hunger
People wake up hungry at night because they have not eaten enough protein during the day. It's important to eat small portions more often throughout the day, so you won't feel ravenous at night, which will keep you from overindulging and waking up feeling full and heavy.
- Pumpkin Seeds
#1. Makhanas or Foxnuts
Makhanas or Foxnuts (or lotus seeds) are an effective way to combat mid-night hunger. Makhanas is an excellent source of protein for people who want to wake up starving for food but want to avoid too much sugar that comes with carbs. Eating carbs in the morning can cause cravings for sweets later in the day, whereas makhanas provide a balanced dose of carbs, proteins, and fats that satisfy your hunger pains without leaving you craving anything else.
#2. Pumpkin Seeds
Eating pumpkin seeds is another one of those natural remedies that are so beneficial because they're high in magnesium which will relax muscles and induce sleepiness. So if you're waking up hungry at night, try eating some pumpkin seeds and see if they help solve the problem.
If you wake up hungry during the night hours, oatmeal may be a perfect choice. Not only does it have lots of fibre to keep your stomach feeling full, but it also helps regulate blood sugar levels.
One reason you might feel hungry at night could be a lack of nutrients from the past few days. Eating nuts provide good fats and proteins that make you feel fuller, and longer. They are not as calorie dense as other foods and contain healthy monounsaturated fats. They also contain omega 3 fatty acids, aiding brain function and muscle development. Walnuts contain the most omega 3s followed by cashews, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and hazelnuts; walnuts also contain antioxidant properties that help prevent heart disease.
For many reasons, a person may wake up hungry in the middle of the night. It could be a sign that they are not eating healthy during the day, or it could be a sign of a medical condition. If a person frequently wakes up hungry, they should speak to a doctor to rule out any underlying health issues. In most cases, simple lifestyle choices can fix hunger at night, such as eating late at night or not drinking alcohol before bed.