Human beings are the only ones in this world whose eating pattern is unpredictable. There are many people who may become hungry in the middle of night. Hunger may wake them up. Getting hungry once in a while during midnight may not be a cause of worry; however, if it becomes a regular affair, it may disturb your sleep.
A good night sleep as we all know is essential for healthy mind and body. So why does this constant feeling of midnight hunger occur. It needs to be closely analyzed as there are many factors that may be responsible for it.Body does not require any food when asleep. Making few changes in your eating habits and daily routine can do much more to get sound sleep without growling in your stomach.
What Are The Causes Of Midnight Hunger?
- Irregular eating habits: Eating at regular interval is the mainstay for keeping the body healthy and active. If you eat at the given time regularly during day, your body glucose level remains normal and steady. It also helps to sustain the level during night when you are asleep. If your eating pattern is irregular, there will be lots of ups and down in the glucose level which can result in midnight hunger.
- Frequent changes in blood sugar: Frequent high and low in blood sugar is one of the causes for midnight hunger. For example, if you consume more of sugary food during dinner or if you eat your dinner in the evening consisting of refined carbohydrates, there will be sudden spike in your insulin. This will be followed by sudden drop in the sugar. By the time you sleep, the entire carbohydrate reserve will consumed. This will make you feel empty and trigger hunger in the middle of your sleep.
- Lack of nutritious diet: Nutrients play an important part in satisfying hunger. If your diet lacks proper nutrients required by the body to fulfill and keep it energized, no matter how much you eat, you will still feel hungry. Your food therefore should consist of fibers, carbohydrates, protein and fats during daytime meals, or else the sugar level will become low during night. You will wake up feeling hungry any time in the night.
- Imbalance of hormones: The two hormones in the body ghrelin and leptin decide when you feel hungry and when to be content. Ghrelin makes you feel hungry and leptin says to your brain that your stomach is full. Any imbalance in these two hormones can make you hungry at any odd hour during night. Stress is a major cause for imbalance between these two hormones. Fluctuation of hormones during menses can also contribute in midnight hunger pangs.
- Sensory perceptions and lifestyle: Often you may stay awake till midnight working on some project or watching television. If you had your dinner five to six hours before midnight, you are bound to feel snacking something or the other.
How To Get Rid Of Hunger At Night?
If you are the one who want to overcome the sleep disturbing discomfort caused by midnight hunger pangs follow these steps:
- Eat fiber containing food. Fibers are complex carbohydrates that keep your stomach full for long duration of time. Besides they also help in maintaining balance of your blood glucose. Both these factors are important to stay away from late night eating. In your dinner include lots of vegetables and whole grains, fruits and legumes. Also drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Schedule your dinner two hours before you go to sleep, instead of eating in early evening.
- Eat healthy snack late at night before going to bed instead of sugary products. You can eat fruits, carrots, or food that are rich in complex carbohydrates.
- Eat your food at schedule time throughout the day without skipping any meal. It helps to sustain normal level of blood sugar. Instead of three large meals, spread your meal in 5 small portions.
- Avoid eating fast food, ice cream, cakes etc during nighttime. Instead if you want to snack while you are awake, eat fruits and boiled vegetables.
- Address stress and depression with yoga and meditation.