There are two main reasons that wake us up in the middle of the night: pee and food, and both are not really normal. Or rather: require you to turn on a red light, especially if it is a habit that repeats itself. This time we will focus on a sudden hunger that wakes us up at three in the morning. Why is this happening to us?
According to experts, if you wake up in the middle of the night with crackles and a strong desire for a snack, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions. “Sleep is a very deep and powerful state, so if the brain / body wakes up in the middle of this state due to hunger, it indicates that something is not working properly,” says Erin Hanlon, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Chicago. To HuffPost. Even according to Kristen Knutson, a sleep specialist at Northwestern University, this is an unusual thing “” because our internal biological clocks do not expect us to eat at this time of day. “So why is this happening and what should we do? Here are some reasons and solutions.
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You do not eat enough during the day
If you do not consume enough calories during the day, you may find yourself hungry at night. “If you skip meals, are overly active and are driven by a restrictive diet – you may not be eating enough calories,” says dietitian and author of the book “Unapologetic Eating” Alyssa Romsey. She further explains that changes in our physical activity, such as a new training routine or training for a marathon, can also play a role. “If the new training regimen is more intense, you may need to eat a little more.“
You are not sleeping enough
Another reason for waking up at night is actually due to lack of sleep. “This is a condition that can upset hormonal activity and leave you particularly hungry, thus finding yourself looking for high.carb foods even at odd hours. Studies have linked sleep loss to increased appetite,” says Knutson. “If someone does not get enough sleep on a regular basis, it can cause an increased appetite during the day and night.“
Sometimes it is not the physical hunger that awakens you in the middle of sleep, but rather a response to stress in our lives. Once you wake up, you are actually approaching the food to calm yourself and your thoughts. “Emotional eating can certainly slow down our thought processes. Food is a distraction from the anxiety that keeps us awake,” says Kelly Allison, a professor of psychology and director of the Center for Weight and Eating at the University of Pennsylvania.
She further adds that there is nothing wrong with eating under stress, however it is important to locate the source of the concern, as anxiety can cause a lot of health damage, far more than weight gain.
You suffer from night eating syndrome
When night trips to the refrigerator occur more frequently – several times a week – this may indicate a disorder called “night eating syndrome”, or NES–
People who suffer from it consume a significant portion of their daily calories after dinner (with little desire to eat earlier in the day), may face aggravated mood problems in the evening, difficulty falling asleep or sleeping and believing they need to eat something to fall asleep again at night. It is estimated that 1.5% of the population may suffer from nocturnal eating syndrome, although the actual figure may be higher than that.
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what can we do?
Pay more attention to the signs of hunger throughout the day. This way you can make sure you get enough food during your waking hours. If you make sure you eat neatly throughout the day, your late night hunger will decrease.
If you still wake up in the middle of the night, try eating a light snack about an hour or two before bed. Dietitian Romsey recommends a combination of protein and carbohydrates: snacks like yogurt and granola, cereal and milk or cheese and crackers are great for this.
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Keep an eating diary. This method may help you to understand eating patterns, in order to examine whether certain daily patterns are more related to waking up hungry.
You woke up hungry and you can not fall asleep again? Eat something. “Start with a small to medium snack, something easy to digest like crackers, a handful of nut mixture or peanut butter toast and then see how you feel,” says Romsey. “Note that eating too much in the middle of the night can cause heartburn and gastrointestinal discomfort, making it even more difficult to sleep.“