It is very common to wake up with that growling stomach in the morning and feel like you could inhale anything in front of you. You may think it is only because you have gone eight hours (on a goodnight) without eating. Although there is some truth to that, there are also a few other factors that can come into play.
Waking Up Thirsty
Alissa Rumsey, RD, spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics told Health.com about how mild dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. This feeling for hunger happens in the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls your appetite and your thirst.
“Prevent it by staying on top of your fluid intake, starting with a glass of water first thing in the morning,” Rumsey said. “If you feel hungry, and you haven’t drunk much that day, try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 to 20 minutes to see if your hunger subsides.”
If you would like to take it one step further, you can add lemon for flavor and Chia seeds. According to Mayo Clinic, they are an excellent source of fiber that take longer to digest, which can help you feel satisfied longer.
Eating Heavy Before Bed
Suzan Dixon, RD, a registered dietitian with The Mesothelioma Center in Portland, Oregon told EatingWell that “some people are more sensitive to large doses of carbs, which can lead to low blood sugar after a big meal.” As noted by Dixon, “bodies can ‘overshoot’ a bit on insulin production in response to a carb-rich meal (especially if the carbs are simple).” What does this mean? Your blood sugar can drop too low about an hour after eating, which could be the reason someone wakes up hungry after eating a big meal before bed.
About to Start Your Period
Another reason you could be waking up hungry is that you are about to get your period. According to Marathon Handbook, “premenstrual syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that may be experienced several days leading up to the beginning of a menstrual period.” The handbook notes that, “one of the more common symptoms is an increase in appetite, particularly in regard to craving sugary or salty foods.” To combat these cravings, you can look for foods with natural sugar as opposed to those with artificial. Fresh fruits are a good place to start!
Michelle Ricker, RDN, founder of Living with Vitality, a Performance Nutrition consulting company based in Los Angeles, told Well + Good, “if you don’t adequately refuel after a workout-at any time, but especially those that exercise at night- you could find that hunger wakes you up later while you’re sleeping.” Her answer for this: a meal rich with carbs and protein. “A very high carb meal may help to induce sleep, but the protein is important to make that meal more filling over a longer period,” she said. It may go without saying, but you should avoid anything with high caffeine or a lot of added sugar
close to bedtime.