I Wake Up Hungry. Why and What Can I Do to Fix this?


It’s natural to feel hungry from time to time but, if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or the morning with severe hunger pangs (that almost feels like an “affliction”) then, it’s likely that you are undernourished (not eating well enough).

Here are some reasons you might be feeling hungry at odd times;

Have you noticed that when you overeat at night, hunger comes for you in the morning? Yes, that’s because eating high starch/ high sugar foods just before bed causes a spike in blood sugar. Then, your pancreas releases insulin (a hormone) which in turn tells your cells to absorb blood sugar. As blood sugar levels drop due to this absorption, hunger comes upon you ‘like a blanket’.

Little or no sleep: 

Ghrelin (a hunger-producing hormone) is released into the blood when you don’t get enough sleep.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): 

This can cause a lot of altered behaviour and hormone levels, which can cause food cravings (especially sugary foods) to different degrees.


Some routine drugs have been implicated in irregular appetite. For example, antidepressants, steroids, antihistamines, diabetic medications and more.


Some people confuse thirst for hunger. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you’re unsure about your cravings, try drinking some water and see if it was thirst and not hunger.

Stress and overexertion: 

Your body releases Cortisol in response to stress, which in turn causes blood sugar to be absorbed for quick energy leading to hunger. Physically overexertion, especially through exercise, your muscles absorb sugar from the blood.

Pregnancy and other medical conditions:

Pregnancy increases the appetite of most women because they are ‘eating for two, three or more”. It’s okay to eat a high-protein snack or warm glass of milk to steady blood glucose levels throughout the night. Some other medical conditions might affect appetite if they are linked to your metabolism, so it is advised that you check with your doctor.

A way out…

Try to avoid stress throughout the day only to compensate yourself with food later in the day. Don’t eat a heavy meal just before bed. A light snack like nuts, cereals, oats, fruits, yoghurt, boiled eggs might help keep your blood sugar levels stable till daybreak. You can also change your dinnertime a bit closer to bedtime but at least an hour or two to bedtime.

, to help you make simple dietary and lifestyle changes that can help you control your blood sugar and appetite.

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